Financial remedy regulations are the ‘Cinderella of family law’ claimed Sir James Munby in the latest View from the President’s Chambers.
The new bulletin from Sir James is his 18th since becoming President of the Family Division in January 2013. It explains major reforms to the way family courts handle financial remedy claims – i.e. monetary claims following divorce, separation or the dissolution of a civil partnership.
“This is the Cinderella of family justice. Some of its failings were exposed by the Law Commission in its 2014 report, ‘Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements,’ Law Com No 343. They need to be remedied. I set out here my vision of what needs to be done and my current thinking as to how this vision can be achieved.”
Financial remedy courts will be the cornerstone of the planned changes. These are due to launch in pilot form next month, with an initial three courts joined by others after Easter. Specialist judges will preside over these courts, which will handle not only financial claims from divorces (under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973), but also financial provision for children (under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989), and other monetary claims arising from family disputes (under the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984). Eventually the courts will also deal with land trusts and matters of inheritance.
As the new courts are rolled out across the country, regional hubs will be established under single presiding judges the President explained. The national lead judge will be the renowned Mr Justice Mostyn.
The 18th View also refers to the importance, as the President sees it, of de-linking financial remedy proceedings from divorce proceedings.
Sir James is due to retire later this year.
You can read the full View here.