Trends in Family Appeals

The response to my FOI request regarding family appeals is in. It’s one of those odd requests where they say you can’t have what you want under FOI, but we’re going to give most of it to you anyway.

What I really wanted to get a handle on was the trends in family appeals, particularly from LiPs, since LASPO. My hypothesis was that there would be more appeals by LiPs, and probably a lower conversion rate from permission applications to full appeal and to successful appeal.

So, here’s what we have.

Numbers of family appeals from DJs are on an upward incline:

Apr 11-Mar 12 = 396

Apr 12-Mar 13 = 446

Apr 13-Mar 14 = 579

April 14-30 June = 140 (grossed up = 560)

Numbers of family permission to appeal applications to the Court of Appeal are up but refusal rates are flat:

Apr 11-Mar 12 = 512 (59% refused)

Apr 12-Mar 13 = 519 (58% refused)

Apr 13-Mar 14 = 637 (58% refused)

The number of LiP permission to appeal applications to the Court of Appeal are up, and they represent an increasing proportion of all permission applications

Apr 11-Mar 12 = 270 (53% of all perm to appeal apps)

Apr 12-Mar 13 = 253 (48% of all perm to appeal apps)

Apr 13-Mar 14 = 378 (59% of all perm to appeal apps)

The absolute numbers of non-LiP permission to appeal applications is pretty much flat at 242, 266 and 259 in each of the 3 years in question.

The proportion of LiP permission applications which are unsuccessful is falling.

196 71%

182 72%

248 65%

LiP family appeals heard in the Court of Appeal are up

21 (of which 52% refused)

14 (of which 57% refused)

34 (of which 53% refused)

All family appeals in the Court of Appeal : 

129 (57% refused)

136 (43% refused)

153 (42% refused)

These figures are interesting. The general trend is towards more LiP attempts to challenge decisions – although the incline is not as stark as I had thought it might be. By proportion more LiPs are getting permission in the Court of Appeal though  – and I guess this arises out of the need to cautiously appraise appeal points where presentation is not optimal and where paperwork may be lacking – and where there seems to be a nugget of an appeal lurking in the background somewhere. As far as I can tell unrepresented litigants tend to have less good prospects in the Court of Appeal, but the figures for all family appeals are drawn from a published table and I have had to make an assumption that “refused” in the FOI response is the same as the total of “dismissed” and “dismissed by consent” in the table – so it is possible that distinction is an illusion.


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