‘The court system is in crisis’, Stowe lawyer tells Sky News


“The court system is in crisis,” declared Stowe Family Law Partner Graham Coy during an appearance on Sky News today.

Graham had been invited onto the show to discuss new findings by insurance giant Aviva which suggest that the typical divorce now costs an average of £14,561 per couple, a 17 per cent increase over the last three years.

Graham pointed the finger at the sharp cuts to legal aid introduced by the then coalition government in 2013.

“Many factors have contributed to this increase in costs. The scandalous abolition of legal aid is one. It means that people can either try to pay for representation themselves, when some cannot afford it, or representing themselves, which is very difficult. Not having access to a lawyer means that many are missing out on alternatives to the court such as mediation, collaboration or arbitration.”

All this, said Graham, has led to a court system which is “slower than it should be and in which people are spending more time going to court as a result.”

He insisted:

“The government and judges should look urgently at court system as it has become unaffordable for many. Increasingly it seems as though only the very wealthy can afford to go through the process.”

Set against this, Graham explained, is the fact that Britain has one of the world’s highest rates of divorce.

“In this country we have a very high divorce rate. Perhaps many as one in two marriages will end in divorce within 12 years. So many people are going to encounter these problems.”

Good advice from a family lawyer can significantly reduce the stress associated with divorce, Graham continued, and can help steer away from expensive and slow courtroom confrontations into speedier, less costly alternatives like arbitration.

Relationship breakdown in this country is estimated to cost £48 billion a year. “That’s almost the whole Brexit divorce bill – every 12 months!” he observed.

Graham Coy is based in the Stowe Family Law London office.


Stowe Family Law Web Team

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Helen Dudden - January 11, 2018 at 5:36pm

International Law is about the same in cost. I once was told by someone, how it became impossible to afford court action in one country for access.

Spike Robinson - January 11, 2018 at 7:39pm

Legal Aid does not make it better. It makes it worse. Bringing back widespread legal aid will only make it worse (though it might reduce the massive increase in false DV allegations and spurious non-molestation orders).

What will make it better is removing the structural incentives that promote and sustain conflict in divorce, the various zero-sum predicaments, the incentives to strike first, the incentives to lie and defame, to claim costs, to inflate costs. Banning or restricting divorce legal loans wouldn’t hurt either.

At the end of the day this £48 billion or whatever this legal bill is was incurred by Family lawyers. Lawyers need to accept a significant part of the responsibility and take a hard look in the mirror.

Mr T - January 13, 2018 at 3:51pm

Yet more feminist pressure.

If legal aid is brought back in. Make it funded by BOTH parties regardless of gender. That would give better justice and would take less time.

It’s basically funding the current biased men are violent and women are victims. The CPS has done exactly the same thing offering yet more privilege for most women who have accused their partners of abuse get a pass on anything and everything.

It’s essentially mass brainwashing of women into putting themselves into the narcissistic victim mentality and that they cannot be independent and taking away responsibility for their lives and actions.

It needs to change.

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