Private law demand at Cafcass article banner image

Cafcass has seen a substantial increase in the number of new private law cases.

Private law is generally used to refer to applications made following a divorce or separation about the arrangements for children, such as where a child will live or with whom a child will spend time when parents can’t agree.

Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) represents children in family Court cases. Cafcass is independent of the Courts, social services and other agencies and ensures that children’s voices are heard and decisions are taken in their best interests.

In March 2016, Cafcass received a total of 3,287 new private law cases which represents a 4% increase on March 2015 levels and this appears to continue the trend that we have seen this year. Between April 2015 and March 2016 Cafcass received a total of 37,354 new private law cases and this figure shows an increase of 9% from the 34,119 cases received in the previous financial year.

Our family team has experienced an increase in both Specific Issue Order (for example to resolve schooling and to allow relocation abroad) and Prohibited Steps Order (to prevent relocation abroad) applications in recent times, consistent with the statistics being released. At Stephens Scown we have solicitors who are members of the Law Society’s Children Panel and Accredited Resolution children specialists to help you look at all the options available to you.


Philippa Leaity is a paralegal in the family team, based in Exeter. If you would like to contact Philippa, please call 01392 210700 or email