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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

05 FEB 2010


BARONESS RUTH DEECH, Gresham Professor of Law

I would like to set this topic in the context of the themes I presented to you at the start of my first lecture on divorce (see October [2009] Fam Law 1048) as relevant to the entire span of family law. One is the connection of morality in private life with morality in public life, or rather I should say this year, the lack of morality in private life and how this lack has been reflected in our public life. The other is the conflict of ideologies in the demands placed on us in family life - to be a good mother and stay at home in a stable relationship, to pursue individual happiness, to have the right to a private life without disapprobation or hindrance, to take care of our children, to take our rightful share of top jobs if we are women. The pursuit of individual happiness quite simply does not accord with the needs of young children. Our lack of judgmentalism in private life, as opposed to health, or human rights or environmental matters, where there is a widely approved set of beliefs from which it is hard to dissent, means that there is no will to present one lifestyle as better than another in the case of children. You will no doubt be able to point to internal inconsistencies in my own views on the law and cohabitation.

To read the rest of this article, see January [2010] Family Law journal.

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