Family Law Titles
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' … from the pre-costs starting point of £2,885,000 the wife will receive £1,123,500 (38.9% of the assets); the lawyers and experts will receive £920,000 (31.9%); and the husband £841,500 (29.2%). These figures speak for themselves. Such a result should not be allowed to happen again.'In January  Fam Law 73, barrister Ashley Murray raises a ‘practitioner response’ to the case and the editor asks for comments. Let this be an extended response to that invitation. My starting point is to recall one or two principles of law (evidence and procedure) and then to look at the upshot – mostly in terms of case management – of J v J.
' …. [counsel for the appellant sought to persuade the court that CPR 1998 r 52.17] prevailed over any previous jurisprudence that might be argued to limit the jurisdiction to any particular category of cases, for instance where the earlier decision had been obtained by fraud. Accordingly, the court should not take time with analysis of
Taylor v [the existing lead case], or of the cases underlying it, but should ask itself whether this appeal should be reopened in order to avoid real injustice in a broadly discretionary, essentially palm-tree, frame of mind. Lawrence
 That approach is quite misconceived. The CPR, being rules of court, cannot extend the jurisdiction of the court from that which the law provides, but can only give directions as to how the existing jurisdiction should be exercised. That is very trite law…'
A practical and user friendly guide to the more challenging areas of ancillary relief practice
‘Something must be done about the problems highlighted by this and by too many similar cases. We simply cannot go on as we are. The expenditure of costs on the scale exemplified by this and by too many other such cases is a scandal which must somehow be brought under control.'Mostyn J observed:
' Although the mantra "something must be done" is repeated time and again, nothing ever is. In the ancillary relief field the mantra has been incanted over and over ever since the iconic judgment of Booth J in Evans v Evans  1 FLR 319.'It was Evans which, in part, led to the 1996 ‘pilot scheme’ of which Mr Nicholas Mostyn (as he then was) was an important architect and (perhaps?) draftsperson of what became Form E. At the same time – 1995-6 – Lord Woolf’s committee on civil procedure was debating what led to the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 with their overriding objective and case management rules (now also part of FPR 2010, rr 1.4 and 4.1). The ‘something must be done’ refers to case management and yet rarely does this procedural aspect – which reflects on the judiciary itself – come in for High Court judicial examination in ancillary relief cases.
' … Since then the Practice Direction has been incorporated within the FPR and reissued on 10 April 2014 in its current form incorporating the one bundle rule. But routinely the profession pays no attention to it. Again, it is no use the courts feebly issuing empty threats. I intend to draw this also to the President's attention with a view to him raising this further pressing matter as a matter of urgency with the Family Procedure Rules Committee. Perhaps it will be necessary for him to set up a special court before which delinquents will be summoned to explain themselves in open court…'Matthew 7:1 asserts: ‘Judge not that ye be not judged’. Yes, there are still massive overspends on all sorts of civil litigation. To bring on a case for trial in English civil law is not cheap. Existing procedures do not always help. A massive benefit of the procedural rules since 1999 has been case management. That is there for the courts. That is the ‘something’ the judges have to use for getting ‘things done’. Avoiding Jarndyce, Evans v Evans and J v J is, in my opinion, collectively in judicial hands.