Leading judge lays out plans for divorce reform
One of Britain’s leading family law judges is calling for changes in the divorce process that would take most cases out of the courts altogether.
Sir James Munby is the President of the Family Division of the High Court. He wants uncontested divorce cases without any claims over money or children to be settled in a national processing centre.
Sir James has written to family lawyers stating that his aim is to simplify and streamline the process to make it more user friendly.
There are 120,000 divorce cases every year in the UK. It’s hoped that the changes would make the process more straightforward and less acrimonious, thus causing as little trauma as possible at a highly stressful time.
Sir James said: “Divorce, as a process, is in large measure administrative, albeit conducted judicially by district judges . . . it is a process which lends itself to handling in a few places and perhaps, eventually, in a single national processing centre.”
Resolution, the association of family lawyers, said it supported the idea together with anything else that would “make the divorce and separation process more straightforward and easier to navigate for separating families — and less acrimonious”.
Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of the Marriage Foundation, said: “Most judges and lawyers would see this as the logical conclusion to where we have got to. But there is a risk that people will get the wrong impression that divorce is being made easier. It is not.”
Sir James has set up a working group to see how such changes might be implemented. We shall keep clients informed of developments.
Please contact Shashi Gorsia for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.