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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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President of the Family Division addresses the evolution of family law
Date:22 MAR 2018

Sir James Munby has addressed Edinburgh University’s Law School on the changing landscape of family law in England and Wales. In his speech, the President of the Family Division discussed the evolving way in which the law has represented marriage. His speech also highlighted five fundamental developments that have changed and evolved family law in the UK:

  • social and religious life;

  • the increase in the number of international families;

  • increasing lack of interest on marriage;

  • societies' attitude to same-sex marriage; and

  • huge advances in medical and reproductive science

He concluded his speech by addressing the areas of family law 'most pressingly in need of statutory reform', including the rights of cohabitants, the law of divorce, ancillary relief following divorce, access to and reporting of family cases, and the inability of family judges to prevent the cross-examination in person by alleged perpetrators of domestic violence of their alleged victims. On the final point he stated:

'[S]uch cross-examination lends itself to abuse, not least the abuse that the court has to stand by, effectively powerless, while the abuse continues in court and, indeed, as part of the court process...The case for reform of this “stain” on our system is overwhelming. There is only one possible argument: it is the right thing to do.'
Read the speech in full here.
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