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06 OCT 2008

Peter G Harris - The Miller Paradoxes

Peter G Harris, Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy, DSPSW, University of Oxford.

There is a pair of paradoxes at the heart of the House of Lords' judgments in the 'big money' divorce cases of White v White [2000] 2 FLR 981 and of Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane [2006] UKHL 24, [2006] 1 FLR 1186. The first paradox is that, while the judges recite the merits of legal certainty, namely in ensuring that like cases are treated alike and in promoting quick and inexpensive settlements, they go on to maintain a high degree of legal uncertainty. The second paradox is that by resisting the temptation to achieve greater certainty the judges arguably have better secured the courts against the unlike treatment of like cases and better promoted quick and inexpensive settlement than had they succumbed to that temptation.

For the full article, see November [2008] Family Law journal.

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