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"The final professional word for the practitioner in family and child law" Phillip Taylor MBE...
‘The challenge for the divorce lawyer is therefore to draft an anodyne petition, carefully navigating the narrow waters between Scylla and Charybdis to minimise the risks that if the petition is too anodyne it may be rejected by the court whereas if it is not anodyne enough the respondent may refuse to cooperate.’ (para )In the vast majority of cases, the respondent will indicate that he or she has no intention to defend the divorce, and the case will be dealt with by a district judge on paper under the ‘special procedure’ set out in Part 7 of the Family Procedure Rules.
‘I cannot help thinking that, if the husband had not sought to defend, the petition would have gone through under the special procedure without any thought or challenge from the court.’It was, in other words, a petition similar to thousands of others issued every year.
‘I have not found this a difficult case to determine. I find no behaviour such that the wife cannot reasonably be expected to live with the husband. The fact that she does not live with the husband has other causes. The petition will be dismissed.’The Court of Appeal concluded, with some side-swipes at the unsatisfactory state of the law, that the first instance judgment could not be faulted: the judge had been entitled to make the findings he did and had not mis-directed himself as to the law. Mrs Owens appealed to the Supreme Court.