Chris Barton's Sketch

24 MAY 2010

Chris Barton The Daily Telegraph's correspondents are currently vying with one another to build Dave 'n' Nick's promised Bonfire of Unwanted Laws. What about Part II of the Family Law Act 1996? Fourteen years since it was enacted, nine since the LCD announced that it would repealed - is it being kept ‘just in case' like the Wandsworth Gallows were until 1993?

Kenneth Clarke, qua Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, has announced that the repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 is ‘not a priority'. But surely it is political correctness gone mad to retain such as Art 2, the right to life, Art 3, freedom from torture, Art 4, prohibition of slavery, Art 5...? Has the Coalition no common sense?

Presumably these modern day Guy Fawkes's have in mind Acts of Parliament and regulations made there under. But what about case law? At Sketch Mansions the under-gardener, under pain of flogging (the estate is naturally exempt from that Human Rights nonsense), is under strict orders to use copies of White v White (HL, 2000) and Miller, McFarlane (HL, 2006) to light bonfires. Given that the Legislature  devoted over half a page to s 25(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, it would surely have expressly included such fundamental ideas as ‘a yardstick of equality', ‘family assets' and 'compensation', rather than assuming that the courts would infer them.

Professor Chris Barton is a retired Family Law Teacher, Vice-President of the Family Mediators Association and a regular contributor to Family Law. Click here to follow Chris Barton on Twitter

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.

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