Divorce reform Bill lacks clarity, says society

THE LAW Society has criticised the Government over the lack of Parliamentary scrutiny applied to its planned divorce reforms.

The society claims the new Family Law Bill, given its second reading in the Lords last Thursday, suffers from a lack of detail about the workings of the proposed new system.

The Bill contains no explanation of how divorce information will be presented to separated parties or details on who will present it and where the sessions will take place. The cost to the public purse has also not been disclosed.

Chair of the society's family law committee Hilary Siddle said she welcomed all initiatives to improve the system, but said the Government needed to provide more information on the workings of the Bill.

“It is unacceptable to insist on people using particular services paid for with public funds when the Government has at present no idea of how these services will work or how much they will cost,” she said.

The committee also argued it was unclear how people would get the legal advice and help they needed and it claimed information on the selection, training and remuneration of mediators was not available.

During the second reading of the Bill Lord Mackay reiterated his pro-marriage stance, saying: “I personally would not wish to see people divorced at all. I would prefer that spouses remain united until God separates them by death.

“But, I have to recognise marriages do break down and the civil legislator must take account of this and provide the best framework of law for this.”