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Family Courts: Delays

Volume 708: debated on Tuesday 8 February 2022

We are determined to reduce delays and bring down waiting times in the courts to reduce the impact the pandemic has had on children and their families. We invested £0.25 billion to support recovery in our courts in the last financial year, and that included £76 million to increase capacity to hear cases in the family and civil courts, as well as in tribunals. Last year’s spending review provided £324 million over the next three years to further improve waiting times in the civil and family courts and tribunals.

In east London the position is getting worse. The delays in the east London family court are the worst in London. Several months ago we were told that parts of east London would be transferred to other courts to ease the problems, but nothing seems to have happened so far and families are now having to wait a minimum of seven months for a hearing. When will we finally see some progress on this? Do we not need additional court capacity?

I hear what the right hon. Gentleman says. I can confirm that the Government and senior judiciary are working closely together to increase the sitting capacity across the east London cluster. In recognition of the pressure on family work across the east London estate, a Nightingale court was created at Petty France, with four additional courts, and additional courts are being utilised at Stratford magistrates and the Royal Court of Justice. But I recognise that this is an important issue for his constituents and I would be more than happy to meet him to talk about what more we can do.