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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

23 JAN 2006

If it's Broken - Fix it

Nicholas Francis QC, 29 Bedford Row. When their Lordships gave their opinions in White v White [2000] 2 FLR 981 in October 2000 they would probably have been astonished if, able to look forward in time, they had discovered that confusion now reigned where relative certainty existed in the bad old days of discrimination. Now, so obsessed are we with percentages that fortunes are spent deciding the value of the whole, before the ordained part of the whole can be awarded to the applicant. Forensic accountants are having their own dot.com style boom. No longer can we say to our client the range is between x and y, rather we say we really do not know what the answer is, it all depends. Clients despair that we are unable to tell them the answer. There can be few professions where two alleged experts can legitimately provide such different views of the same case on the same facts. At the time Nicholas Francis QC wrote this article the two very different cases (McFarlane and Miller) had not been heard together. Nicholas Francis comments that there is the opportunity for their Lordships to give further guidance and arrest this descent into chaos, although conversely, each of these two cases could also be narrowly interpreted and confined to their own facts. See February [2006] Fam Law 104 for the full article.

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