In recent years, there has been two arguably parallel lines of case law on the general approach courts should take to non-matrimonial property. The two groups of case law represent the two different schools of thought: the artists and the scientists. Mostyn J, himself a clear leader of the scientists, described the difference between the two approaches in N v F (Financial Orders: Pre-Acquired Wealth)
 2 FLR 533. Under Mostyn J’s scientific approach the court must first identify the whole matrimonial pot, and within that how much constitutes both matrimonial and non-matrimonial assets. The court shall ‘identify the scale of the non-matrimonial property to be excluded, leaving the matrimonial property alone to be divided in accordance with the equal sharing principle’ (paras  & ). At para  of that case he was clear that:
‘I adhere to my view that the two step approach is the right one, generally speaking. It is precisely what Wilson LJ did in Jones. It seems to me that the process should be as follows:
(i) Whether the existence of pre-marital property should be reflected at all. This depends on questions of duration and mingling.
(ii) If it does decide that reflection is fair and just, the court should then decide how much of the pre-marital property should be excluded. Should it be the actual historic sum? Or less, if there has been much mingling? Or more, to reflect a springboard and passive growth, as happened in Jones?
(iii) The remaining matrimonial property should then normally be divided equally.
(iv) The fairness of the award should then be tested by the overall percentage technique.’ (para )
The artistic approach on the other hand has been consistently favoured by Moylan J (as he then was). This view takes a more discretionary broad brush approach, rather than the formulaic two stage method as set out above. Under this view, the percentage share of the whole matrimonial pot is adjusted from the 50%:50% starting point according to discretionary judicial ‘feel’ as to what would be an appropriate percentage shift to reflect the existence of non-matrimonial property in that case. Moylan J ordered a 40%:60% split of the assets in C v C
 1 FLR 8 through this technique. He concluded that ‘it would be unhelpful to suggest that the assessment of the extent to which such departure is justified can be calculated by reference to any formula or clear mathematics…’
The primary criticism levelled at the artistic approach is that it depends upon the discretionary intuitive feel of a single member of the judiciary. It therefore risks results that are arbitrary and lack consistency. Mostyn J summarised the concern perfectly in JL v SL (No 2)
 EWHC 360 (Fam): ‘how do the parties understand how, say, a 40% has been alighted on, as opposed to say, 43% or 45%? The technique may reflect the individual judge’s instinct and intuition but it risks being described as a lawless science.’ (para ).
In other words, the artist is the student who gives an answer on a maths exam, but does not record any of their ‘workings out’ along the way. In the same way that the examiner might struggle to understand how the answer was reached, so too would the parties or perhaps more importantly any appellate court seeking to review an artistically chosen percentage. The scientist student conversely, not only provides his workings as to how his answer was reached, but also provides a cross-check method to confirm that his answer is within the right bracket. This would appear more accessible to examiners and parties alike.
The scientific formula is not above criticism however. Wilson LJ was clear of the shortfalls of both approaches in Jones v Jones
 EWCA Civ 41. Counsel in Jones
argued for opposite methods. ‘Criticism can easily be levelled at both approaches. In different ways they are both highly arbitrary. Application of the sharing principle is inherently arbitrary … but is the greater apparent specificity of Miss Stone’s approach an illusion? Powerful voices are raised against the accuracy of the types of valuations which her approach often requires…’
So the two opposing camps are established, with their apparent failings known, it is from here that two arguably juxtaposing lines of authority can be said to have emerged.