Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, has publicly urged a reform of the Family Courts’ handling of divorce, asking, “May the time not come when we should at least consider whether the process of divorce still needs to be subject to judicial supervision?”
As reported in the Law Society Gazette, Munby questioned whether it was time to overhaul the divorce process, removing the concepts of faults as a basis for divorce, leaving irretrievable breakdown as the sole ground; such that, where there is mutual agreement between both parties that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, the Courts must facilitate and grant the divorce.
He also voiced that such a change could lead to a separation of the process of divorce from the process of adjudicating claims for financial relief thereafter.
This is not the first time a prominent member of the establishment has called for such reform, with retiring Family Law judge Sir Paul Coleridge having previously labelled Divorce Law in England and Wales to be “outdated, anachronistic and due for an overhaul.“
Additionally, Munby voiced his concern over the ‘injustice’ to which unmarried cohabitants were subject, denying them the rights to which married couples were entitled from the courts in terms redistribution of assets.
The Aim of the Family Court, he said, must be to “simplify and streamline” the divorce process, making it more user-friendly for litigants in person and less costly a proposition for all.
In conclusion, Munby stated, “Reform is desperately needed – has been desperately needed for at least 40 years. Thus far governments have failed to act. Reform is inevitable. It is inconceivable that society will not right this injustice in due course.”
For the full story, visit The Law Society Gazette.