Curtains for combative divorcees

Lord Woolf has criticised lawyers from both sides of a divorce proceedings for becoming so combative that the husband's side tried to get the wife committed to prison for not giving back his curtains.

The Court of Appeal heard how the former husband's solicitor, Portsmouth sole-practitioner Gregory Challenor, had alleged a court order for the return of a hob, a washing line and curtains had not been obeyed.

A summons was even issued for the judge who granted the order to give evidence, but he “declined” to be interviewed.

The committal application was dismissed with consent from both sides, but Challenor subsequently appealed against a wasted costs order.

Woolf, with judges Butler Sloss and Saville, upheld the appeal saying none of the legal advisers, should be singled out. He said the case “vividly illustrates what can happen if lawyers on both sides become excessively combative and lose any sense of proportion”.