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The truth about care proceedings

The purpose of this page is to shed some light on care proceedings cases and show the average time taken between the local authority lodging their case with the court and an order being made about who will look after the child.

What are care proceedings?

Care proceeding cases are brought when a local authority believes that a child is suffering from abuse or neglect by their parents.  They can bring a case to a family court to try to protect the child and ensure that the child gets the care they need.Nine months is the average time for a family court to decide where a child should live following an application by the local authority

These cases, also known as public law cases, generally involve a number of different court hearings. At the final hearing, the judge or the magistrates will make an order which will decide who should look after the child from that point onwards.

More about how courts work...

Case length in your local area

You can find out about average court times for care proceedings cases in your local area between January and March 2014. The statistics show the average time taken between a local authority lodging their case with the court and an order being made about the child's future, in county courts and local justice areas. A number of factors can influence case length, find out why by visiting our 'Mythbuster' page.

National
England & Wales

Weeks in total
average over 5,733 cases

Breakdown of weeks

  • Weeks between case being submitted to court and decision being made
  • 0
  • 10
  • 20
  • 30
  • 40
  • 50
  • 60
  • 70
  • 80
  • 90
  • 104

Your selection
Please select a court from the 'Map' tab

Weeks in total
average over 0 cases

Breakdown of weeks

  • Weeks between case being submitted to court and decision being made
  • 0
  • 5
  • 10
  • 15
  • 20
  • 25
  • 30
  • 35
  • 40
  • 45
  • 52
    Select a court area on the map opposite to view the list of courts

LJAs or 'local justice areas' - groups of one or more magistrates' courts which are administered together.

About these statistics

These figures are based on statistics published here Justice website. Feedback can be emailed to the Ministry of Justice statistics enquiries mailbox.

The statistics in this regular report, called Court Statistics Quarterly, also cover other types of cases dealt with in the family courts.

Each individual child is counted separately in these statistics even if, for instance, there is more than one child in the family unit. Applications are counted based on the family court where the case was originally lodged.

For the magistrates' courts that deal with family cases - also called 'family proceedings courts' - the figures are available by 'local justice area' (LJA) rather than for individual court locations. LJAs are groups of one or more family proceedings courts in a geographical area which are administered together. The quality of the statistics for individual courts and LJAs, however, is likely to be less robust than at an overall national level.

More information about the collation of these statistics can be found on the Justice website.


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