Should grounds for divorce be simplified and removed from judicial supervision?

The president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has publicly questioned whether divorce should remain subject to judicial supervision and whether the grounds for divorce should be simplified. Sir James Munby told the Legal Wales Conference in October that “radical” reform is necessary to address the effects of legal aid cuts.

According to an article in The Law Society Gazette, Munby asked whether the time has come to legislate to remove all concepts of faults as a basis for divorce and to leave irretrievable breakdown as the sole ground. He said that this might also lead to separating the process of divorce from the process of adjudicating claims for financial relief following divorce.

“May the time not come when we should at least consider whether the process of divorce still needs to be subject to judicial supervision?” he asked. 

Munby said the aim of the family court must be to “simplify and streamline” the process to make it more user-friendly for litigants in person and cheaper for everybody.

On the subject of cohabitants’ rights, Munby was critical of the “injustice” of unmarried partners not receiving the same treatment as married couples from courts in the redistribution of assets.

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