Examination of Witnesses

Part of Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:28 am on 2nd July 2019.

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David Hodson:

May I respond briefly to that last point? I would go even further than Nigel. Lawyers specifically go out of their way to make sure that the real heart of the reason why the relationship may have broken down is not in the allegations of unreasonable behaviour, to remove any cause for greater animosity and concern. As practising lawyers we go out of our way to pull back from the distress that these allegations would cause. So although, as Nigel says, it will always be true, we do not put down the real problems at the heart of the relationship, to avoid that.

If I can come to the Law Society’s position, we have throughout supported no-fault divorce and we have been keenly supportive of Resolution in all the steps it has taken. Nigel and I were actively involved in 1996 when that legislation went through. We are keen to support no-fault divorce and actively support the principle of this legislation. We actively support a period of notice as the way of dealing with it, rather than a period of separation, which can have artificial and discriminatory elements.

We have a number of concerns, however, about the structure of the Bill, including the way it is set out, and there are a number of flaws in the Bill. We want the legislation to go through and we want no-fault divorce, but we believe that the Bill should be amended in certain respects before it completes its passage through Parliament.