People who represent themselves in court are the biggest issue facing family law, according to a new survey.
In their annual Matrimonial Survey, financial advice firm Grant Thornton UK found that 21 per cent of family law professionals believed litigants in person (LIPs) were the most significant issue they face. Other popular choices were the lack of legal aid in family law cases and the courts not being fit for purpose.
All three of these issues ranked highly in the 2014 survey, indicating that they are not new problems. Similarly, the areas of legislation most respondents said they would like to change were also unchanged from last year. The introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce and legal protections for cohabiting couples both scored very highly.
Nick Andrews, a partner at Grant Thornton UK, said the survey revealed that “professionals still remain concerned that the court system is not fit for purpose to support LIPs” despite the introduction of a single family court.
Family law professionals were also asked about patterns they had noticed in the divorce cases they dealt with. Solicitors reported a noticeable increase in the average age of people seeking divorce this year. Although the vast majority of clients – 74 per cent – were between 40 and 49 years old, 15 per cent were between 50 and 59. This represents a seven percent rise from 2014.
The survey also found that the majority of marriages – 61 per cent – last between 11 and 20 years.
To read the full survey results, click here.