UK Family Law Market Briefing

  • ID: 4431978
  • Report
  • Region: United Kingdom, Great Britain
  • 51 Pages
  • IRN Research
1 of 3
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 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.

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
2 of 3


  • A long-tailed market
  • Benefiting from some social changes but held back by others
  • Government efforts to reform and change the market
  • A market worth almost £1.6 billion and due for steady but slow growth in the future


  • Definition
  • Abbreviations


  • Around 6,000 firms are active
  • A Single Family Court


  • Overview
  • Co-habitation trends
  • Number of divorces generally falling but 2016 saw an increase
  • Same sex marriages a new growth sector
  • Legal aid changes result in a decline in work, but the worst might be over
  • Bach Commission advocates a new Right to Justice Act
  • Families encouraged to use mediation
  • Solicitors and law firms remain at the centre of the family law area
  • But consumers are increasingly going it alone
  • Divorce gets more expensive
  • E-working in the family jurisdiction
  • Moves to make courts more streamlined and flexible
  • Pressure but no change in marriage or divorce law


  • Solicitors - London Firms
  • Solicitors - Rest of the UK
  • Barristers
  • Online divorce


  • A market worth £1.6 billion
  • Divorce remains the core of family law
  • Resulting in divorce cases generating the greatest volume of work
  • Divorce petitions rise in 2016 but look set to fall again in 2017
  • Financial remedy applications up and look set to rise in 2017
  • Number of public law cases under the Children Act rise
  • Number of private law cases recovering from the legal aid changes
  • Volume of domestic violence work rising
  • Adoption cases are declining


  • A market worth £1.8bn by 2021
  • Practitioners survey results
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
3 of 3


4 of 3
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown