Lord Chancellor's white paper

Lawyers are needed

There is a heavy anti-lawyer slant in the Lord Chancellor's divorce white paper. The agenda seems to be 'get the lawyers out and the mediators in'. But much of the reason for the presence of lawyers in matrimonial work is because the current system encouraged, if not required it.

The proposed change in the approach should help reduce this involvement. Many of the proposals are years overdue and heartily endorsed by the profession. The new regime holds no fears for lawyers, as they have been active as mediators and see this role growing.

But divorce is a legal process and it is silly to hope that providing information to couples on its own will be sufficient. Legal advice must be given as needed to protect the interests of those involved and has to be the framework within which any mediation takes place.

A pat on the back

The long search for the award winners in The Lawyer/HIFAL 1995 Awards is over. At a splendid function in London last week, the 15 successful entrants were named and presented with their prizes.

Our warmest congratulations go to them and also to the runners up. But all those who entered or nominated others for awards must be thanked, as must the sponsors and judges who made the event possible.

We believe that the quality of the award winners is ample justification for the event. Their achievements will be an eye-opener to many. It has been The Lawyer's privilege to highlight their contribution.

But we are aware that there are many more high performing individuals and organisations out there that deserve recognition and we are determined to build on the success of this event in next year's awards.