family

Let’s have proper no-fault divorce

March 11, 2016

MPs are due today to debate the principle of Richard Bacon MP’s No-fault Divorce Bill. What’s interesting about this bill is how very unradical it is. When we talk about “no fault divorce” most of us mean taking any notion of fault out of the divorce process altogether so that when you decide you want […]

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Summary judgment: what the Supreme Court held in Sharland

October 14, 2015

In Sharland v Sharland, the Supreme Court today granted the appeal of a woman who wanted to reopen her divorce settlement on the grounds of her husband’s fraud. Here’s my technical legal analysis, in a few words, of the precedent this case lays down to bind the courts in future. RATIO—Where one of the parties […]

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Fraud unravels all: the Supreme Court divorce judgments in Sharland and Gohil

October 14, 2015

The Supreme Court has today given two judgments (Sharland v Sharland, and Gohil v Gohil) about re-opening divorce settlements on the grounds of fraud. Sharland lays down a new test in cases involving fraud, which should mean more settlements are reopened in future. Alison Sharland agreed a divorce settlement with her husband, who’d told the […]

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Same-sex marriage: the US, Europe and the Obergefell questions

June 25, 2015

The US Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell v Hodges – it may come out today, or next week – will be historic whatever it decides. The main question is whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution with its guarantee of the “equal protection of the laws” requires states to allow same-sex marriage. Either it […]

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First Reading: Ellie Cumbo on her
Ground of Divorce and Dissolution Bill

June 19, 2015

I met the campaigner Ellie Cumbo earlier this week to discuss her Ground of Divorce and Dissolution Bill, published here yesterday. We talked about why she wants to bring in “no fault” divorce, how her model would work, and why she thinks divorce reform is such a difficult subject. She says – Where I think […]

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First Reading: Ellie Cumbo’s
Ground of Divorce and Dissolution Bill

June 18, 2015

First Reading is a new regular feature in which I ask campaigners, writers and thinkers what law they’d change, if they could table their own “private person’s bill” in Parliament. My first guest is the campaigner and policy researcher Ellie Cumbo – and here’s her Ground of Divorce and Dissolution Bill, to radically reform the law […]

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The Children Act, by Ian McEwan

September 6, 2014

Fiona Maye is sixty – and a judge in the Family Division of the High Court. Her husband’s about to leave her for a younger woman, she fears, as a case comes before her that will test both her values, and her judgement. A seventeen year old is refusing desperately needed treatment that would save […]

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Supreme Court judgment: Humphreys v HMRC

May 16, 2012

If you’re in the business of predicting court judgments, you can sometimes end up looking a mug. My last prediction wasn’t the best. Oh, well. At least the judges agreed with me on the time limit. Anyway, while the downside of legal punditry can be a mild judicial mugging from time to time, the upside […]

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Family arbitration needs a clear legal framework

February 23, 2012

I’ve written a piece for the Guardian Law website today, about yesterday’s launch, by the new Institute of Family Law Arbitrators, of a scheme of binding family law arbitration. The scheme itself doesn’t worry me: I’m sure the IFLA’s arbitrators are all more than competent family lawyers who’ll do a good job. I am a […]

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Sharia, divorce and arbitration

January 19, 2012

On Monday the Guardian published this piece about Sadakat Kadri‘s claim that Islamic law can be compatible with the toughest human rights legislation. I doubt this very much; and I don’t think my or anyone else’s scepticism is the result of a lack of “sharia-literacy”. In a BBC Radio 3 interview last week with Anne […]

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