The increasing number of unrepresented ‘litigants in person’ have not significantly delayed family court hearings, a new report claims.
According to a statistics bulletin from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the estimated duration of hearings in which neither party has legal representation has actually gone down in comparison to cases in which both parties have lawyers. The finding applies to private law disputes, i.e. disputes between individuals which do not involve the state.
The claim is based on a comparison of cases completed within 12 weeks which began between April 2012 and March 2013 with those which began between April last year and March this year.
The average length of hearings in which neither party was represented decreased, the report claims, from 300 minutes in the year to 2013, down to 180 minutes in the year to March 2014.
Authors of the report have, however, stressed that the findings of the report are based on averages rather than actual hearing durations.
Barristers have criticised the newly published report on Twitter, describing the report as “flawed”, based on unreliable data. and sending out “an unhelpful message”.
Read the report here.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the government is still to publish a report on litigants in person more than a year after receiving its main findings.