Komron Tursunmurodov

Image source: www.istockphoto.com

Family is the primary unit of society. Due to its significance, Uzbekistan’s New Constitution contains a whole chapter dedicated to families, children, and youth. Uzbekistan has a sizeable legislative base regulating family relations, guaranteeing spouses’ and children’s rights and freedoms. One of the legal examples would be the Family Code. Currently, Uzbekistan is facing with rising numbers of family disputes and divorces every year. For that reason, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed the solution by introducing family judges to the public, specialized in family disputes. Therefore, one might anticipate the introduction of family courts in Uzbekistan in the future. Against this background, this blog post discusses the challenges and opportunities of establishing family courts in Uzbekistan and the questions of whether Uzbek society needs them.

Definition of family courts: a simple comparative analysis

A family court is a court that solves most of the disputes arising from family relationships. Family courts are presided over by experienced and knowledgeable judges specializing in family matters. The good practice of family courts can be seen in the US, the UK, Japan, Australia, India, Germany, France, Kazakhstan, etc. For example, in the US a family court’s mission is to provide a fair, speedy, economical, and accessible forum for resolving matters involving families and children. The US family courts hear legal issues involving children, domestic relations cases, domestic violence cases, civil commitment cases, guardianships of adults, and adult abuse cases.  Japanese family courts also deal with domestic disputes, divorce and inheritance cases, and cases involving juvenile delinquents. Apart from rendering a legal determination, courts also cope with emotional conflicts in family relations. In Kazakhstan, family courts primarily focus on divorce disputes and achieved significant results: the divorce rate decreased and many couples reconciled. German family courts have a long‐standing tradition of hearing the child’s voice when proceedings affect the child. Based on the information, it can be summarized that a family court  consolidates all domestic relations cases into one court system. 

Merits of establishing family courts in Uzbekistan

Organizing family courts offers several advantages to the public in Uzbekistan. I will explain how we can benefit from them. First of all, family courts will make the court system more efficient by creating a unified system. For instance, only civil courts hear all family disputes in Uzbekistan. It means that judges carry out all the proceedings based on the Civil Procedure Code; no specific normative act regulates family dispute proceedings. Besides, civil courts’ jurisdiction is extensive because they simultaneously hear civil cases, labor cases, family disputes, etc. It is challenging for civil court judges to rule on all cases as they must apply norms and principles of Civil law, Labor law, Family law, etc. However, family courts will create a unified system that ensures and guarantees spouses’ rights and obligations and children’s rights and freedoms. The government would adopt special normative acts like the Family Procedure Code to effectively regulate proceedings in family courts. In addition, judicial practice in family issues would improve significantly.

Second, it is expected that family courts may solve disputes quickly and effectively. Today’s Uzbek civil courts deal with family matters and overloaded civil or labor cases. For example, they examined approximately 348,000 cases only in 2023. At the same time,the number of divorces soared year by year despite the government’s efforts to stop it. According to Uzbekistan’s Statistics Agency, 28,200 divorces were registered in 2020. This number kept growing, and 37,700 couples got divorced in 2023. It means the divorce rate in Uzbekistan increased by 1,3 times (2020-2023). These data show that civil courts are flooded which causes difficulties for judges to render effective and fast resolutions. Meanwhile, family courts would only focus on family issues. Family judges would be well-trained and experienced professionals who would also consider all other circumstances of disputes’ emergence in addition to solving cases. As a result, they will determine the roots of family disputes and accept appropriate measures to tackle and prevent them. These measures include establishing new types of liability for family abusers, bringing about a reconciliation between the two conflicting sides (spouses, father(mother) in-law and bride), providing advice and guidance for troubled families, etc.

Moreover, family courts will provide specialized services like counseling and social work to families. Sometimes family disputes do not arise from husband-and-wife relations, but mother-in-law and bride or father-in-law and bride relations. These disputes have always been common in Uzbekistan. Therefore, the most effective way to solve them is to establish family courts. Experienced and competent family judges would provide practical and effective advice that would benefit both parties (mother(father) in-law and bride). The same will happen with husband-and-wife disputes. It means that couples will be provided with social services like counseling when filing for divorce. 

Additionally, family courts will be able to judge the abusers. In most cases, husbands violate their wives’ rights, freedoms, and legal interests. Wives often become victims of sexual, physical, economic, and psychological abuse. For example, a husband constantly beats his wife, obligates her to stay at home and forbids her to go out, insults and offends her, etc. The same trend continues with children, particularly with daughters and sons. In these cases, family judges should be competent to take measures and bring abusers to justice. Abusers should be administratively or criminally liable for their deeds. This will significantly decrease the number of family disputes and prevent wives and children from being victims of abuse.  

Finally, in recent years some citizens have started propagating polygamy (cohabitation with two or more women based on a common household), stating that religion allows it. In fact, this formed a critical situation as it became trendy for men to marry more than one woman. As a result, one husband’s wife created conflicts, their children became enemies and other financial, ethical, and religious problems arose. At the same time, Uzbekistan’s Criminal Code prohibits polygamy, so in this case, citizens’ marriages were illegal. It meant that the government could not cope with this critical situation, and this type of crime has been difficult for law enforcement bodies to prevent. Thus, it increased the public’s need for family courts.

The ones who suffer most from divorce are not only couples but their children too. They are raised by a single parent, and they will not receive a sufficient amount of care, love, and protection. Moreover, it is difficult for one parent to afford a child’s all costs. Overall, our society is becoming filled with single-parent families, and the best solution to this problem would be establishing family courts. 

Challenges of establishing family courts in Uzbekistan

The process of establishing family courts accompanies several challenges. That is why the Uzbek government has to take into account the following concerns:

1. Establishing family courts could be costly for the Uzbek government. Family courts need to be established in all regions, cities, and districts of Uzbekistan. There are 12 regions and the Republic of Karakalpakstan, 30 cities, and more than 170 districts in Uzbekistan. So, we need more than 250 family courts and 1,250 judges and clerks. It is expensive to build family courts, I will propose to use some parts of current civil courts’ buildings.

2. Training family judges would be another problem. The Supreme Court needs to find foreign and national specialists to train judges, which also requires a great deal of efforts and investment. Importantly, judges should be knowledgeable, competent, and fair to resolve disputes accurately.

3. Family judges should be well-trained and experienced psychologists. Otherwise, we might expect the same difficulties we are facing now. As I mentioned before, 37,700 couples got divorced in 2023. The divorce rate should go down immediately, and judges with knowledge of psychology could decrease it by providing couples with sufficient and practical advice.  

4. The process of establishing these courts should be carried out together with adopting special normative acts, for example: The Family Procedure Code, the Law ‘On Reconciliation’, and other legal acts.

Based on this, I suggest establishing family courts step by step to find, analyze, and deal with their potential problems. I think Tashkent (with the highest divorce rate) would be a perfect region to experiment with the effectiveness of family courts.


Uzbekistan needs family courts after ‘family judge’ reforms. I’m sure family courts will improve the current critical situation and solve all the problems arising from family relations. Nonetheless, the government has to consider that the specific mission of family courts should be to explore all causes of family disputes and resolve cases with an eye to the future. I believe that by establishing family courts in Uzbekistan, we can significantly decrease the number of family disputes, prevent them, and, of course, ensure that no one abuses a woman or child.

Cite as:  Komron Tursunmurodov, “Establishing Family Courts in Uzbekistan: Challenges and Opportunities for Government and Society”, Uzbekistan Law Blog, 07.02.2024.