|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Young: My Lords, I feel that we have had a short but useful debate on the matter. I have been interested in all the points that have been raised. I wish to assure the noble Lord, Lord Meston, that, even were I contemplating a divorce, I could not possibly afford his fees. My experience of lawyers does not quite bear out what he said. You can ask them for advice and you are fortunate if you receive a clear statement. Lawyers are always much too clever in covering themselves. You find that when you consider what they said, it was not as helpful as you thought at the beginning. One thing is for sure: it is certainly expensive. I agree with the noble Lord that this is not a big issue on which we should divide the House. Nevertheless, it is worth raising on this occasion.
My noble and learned friend Lord Simon of Glaisdale has been assiduous in raising in particular issues of fairness towards the spouse who does not wish the divorce, or indeed the wife who remains at home to look after the children and does not earn a salary, qualify for a pension and so on, and to try to make quite sure that such people get an equal benefit.
I entirely agree with the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that to introduce this amendment would mean major change. Clearly it would be quite inappropriate to introduce such a measure at this stage. It would need extensive consultation and consideration. I recognise that at the end of that process we might feel that there was no benefit to be gained. However, it is right to consider the proposal. It clearly seems to work and is seen to be fair in Scotland. In this very complex world we are looking for fixed points, and it might well be helpful to parties to know much more accurately when they enter into a divorce what would be the result. That is one of the uncertainties. I am told repeatedly that one of the greatest causes of acrimony is the division of the assets and the fighting over them. It is bad for everybody, particularly for children. If that can be avoided in any way, it is certainly worth considering. I was very pleased to hear that the noble and learned Lord is considering taking this matter up with his advisory committee and consulting about it. It is certainly something that we should examine. As I said, it is not a
Page 62, line 17, leave out (" 33(5)(d)") and insert (" 33(6)(d)").
Page 69, line 29, leave out from ("satisfied") to end of line 30 and insert--
("( ) that the circumstances of the case are exceptional; and
( ) that it would be just and reasonable for the variation to be so made.".").
House adjourned at half past ten o'clock.
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page