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Is the rise in private law children’s cases a cause for concern?


Article date:  10/06/2013

A leading family lawyer says that an increase in court applications regarding the arrangements for children is unexpected.

Hannah Nicholls, a solicitor specialising in children's law at Black Country law firm Higgs & Sons, says the statistics released by Cafcass - the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service - show that private law cases have risen by almost a third.

"Around 4,400 new private law cases were submitted to Cafcass in April, a 28 per cent increase on 12 months ago," says Hannah.

"The figures are surprising given the implementation of the Pre-application Protocol and would lead us to question whether parents are getting the right specialist advice. An experienced family lawyer would always encourage a non-court led resolution first, such as mediation".

"Whilst the decision made by the court will always be in the best interests of the child or children involved there are other routes to investigate first, before going to court."

The monthly total of applications for new private law cases for April was the joint highest ever recorded by Cafcass, along with October 2012. Private applications have also increased by 10 per cent in the last financial year.

"On the eve of Father's Day, many fathers will be denied contact with their children without good reason.  In such circumstances, specialist legal advice should be sought at an early stage with a view to a non-court led solution being achieved if possible.  Should this fail, then an application to the court will ensure a child centred solution."

Higgs & Sons works from two offices in the Black Country - Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs over 200 people, including 100 specialist lawyers.

To find out how Higgs' family team can help you, call 0845 111 5050 or visit

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