The increasing number and complexity of care cases, alongside courts service cuts, could scupper efforts to slash delays in the family courts, MPs were told.
The president of the High Court family division, Sir Mark Potter, told the constitutional affairs committee that an increasing proportion of care cases were complex, for instance due to immigration issues.
Figures from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service show that the number of care cases rose by 3.9 per cent from April 2005 to February 2006 and by 5 per cent in 2004-5.
Potter said this, coupled with court service cuts (news, page 7, 27 April), would hinder efforts to tackle delays.
He said only 52 per cent of care cases in London were completed within 40 weeks, against a target of 75 per cent
This excluded the High Court, which faced the greatest demands.