UK Family Law Market IRN Legal Market Briefing
STEADY, IF UNSPECTACULAR GROWTH, FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS
The UK Family Law Market Briefing is the fourth edition of an annual Legal Market Briefing from IRN Research and provides an overview of the UK family law market.
The family law market took a major hit in 2014 as the legal aid changes had a major impact on the volume of work, with the market also slowing in 2013 as the changes were first implemented. The market bounced back in 2015 and continued to grow in 2016. In 2017, further growth is anticipated but at a lower rate than in 2016.
A clear majority of family law practitioners are expecting volume and revenue growth over the next 12 months. Key market drivers identified by practitioners are: legal advice in new areas such as same-sex couples and co-habiting couples; more cases involving financial matters and disputes; mediation services; international work.
The market value is forecast to increase steadily, if unspectacularly, over the coming five years, based on an anticipated continued fall in divorce cases compensated by continued rises in legal costs, but with costs rises controlled by the introduction of more price transparency. Over 2017 to 2022, the market is expected to grow by 11% in value terms.
The family law sector, like the consumer legal market as a whole, exhibits the classic long-tail characteristics of a professional services sector. A few major companies dominate the market, followed by a long-tail of companies of diminishing size. There are large specialist international law firms dealing with high net worth clients and offering family law services plus large law firms focusing on consumer law. There are niche family law specialist firms and then a large number of general practice law firms offering family law alongside other consumer law services.
The briefing (51pp, PDF), is available directly from IRN Research, priced at £180. UK sterling price is plus VAT so total price is £216.
The UK Family Law Market Briefing is one of a series of briefings produced each year with
others covering Commercial Law, Conveyancing, Personal Injury, Wills & Probate, Medico-Legal & Insurance Services, and Maritime & Shipping Law. Further details and order details at www.irn-research.com/reports .
INTELLIGENCE, RESEARCH, INSIGHT
Established in 1991, IRN Research is a market research consultancy with a particular focus on the legal services market. We offer a range of bespoke research services, on an ad-hoc and continuous basis, to law firms and suppliers to the sector. These services include client satisfaction surveys, market studies and competitor intelligence, client industry reports, and strategic studies.
Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY…… 5
5…..A long-tailed market
5…..Benefiting from some social changes but held back by others
6…..Government efforts to reform and change the market
6…..A market worth almost £1.6 billion and due for steady but slow growth in the future
10…..Around 6,000 firms are active
12…..A Single Family Court
MARKET DEVELOPMENTS AND DRIVERS…… 13
14…..Number of divorces generally falling but 2016 saw an increase
16…..Same sex marriages a new growth sector
17…..Legal aid changes result in a decline in work, but the worst might be over
18…..Bach Commission advocates a new Right to Justice Act
19…..Families encouraged to use mediation
21…..Solicitors and law firms remain at the centre of the family law area
21…..But consumers are increasingly going it alone
23…..Divorce gets more expensive
25…..E-working in the family jurisdiction
26…..Moves to make courts more streamlined and flexible
27…..Pressure but no change in marriage or divorce law
THE KEY PLAYERS…..29
29…..Solicitors – London Firms
30…..Solicitors – Rest of the UK
MARKET SIZE AND TRENDS…..33
33…..A market worth £1.6 billion
33…..Divorce remains the core of family law
35…..Resulting in divorce cases generating the greatest volume of work
38…..Divorce petitions rise in 2016 but look set to fall again in 2017
38…..Financial remedy applications up and look set to rise in 2017
39…..Number of public law cases under the Children Act rise
40…..Number of private law cases recovering from the legal aid changes
41…..Volume of domestic violence work rising
42…..Adoption cases are declining
THE FUTURE…… 44
45…..A market worth £1.8bn by 2021
45…..Practitioners survey results