Burton, Frances (2021) OWENS V OWENS: A MOST CURIOUS CASE. Denning Law Journal, 31. pp. 5-23. ISSN 0269-1922 (In Press)

DLJ Frances Burton article_1PP.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (211kB) | Preview


The combination of the long Brexit delays, largely unwelcome General Election, a change of leadership and Cabinet composition in the Conservative government and finally the coronavirus has between them resulted in a long pause in expected reforming legislation which is much needed in Family Law, including the initial loss of the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Bill 20191 , generated in 2019 by the failure of Mrs Owens’ ’ Supreme Court appeal in the now notorious case of Owens v Owens. While this was immediately hailed by the media as justification for urgent reform of the Law of Divorce in England and Wales – on the grounds that English law was almost alone in modern liberal jurisdictions in lacking a No Fault Divorce regime, clearly this has now been overtaken by subsequent events. While it may be factually accurate that England and Wales does not have such a regime for dissolution of marriage without fault and by consent (at least without satisfying the inconvenient condition of waiting for the two-year delay necessary for a decree on the basis of two years of separation and consent), and perhaps should have one for the reason stated, the failed Owens appeal has absolutely no jurisprudential connection with any urgency for reform of the law in order to secure such a decree at all. This is because the legal profession has been effectively obtaining divorces under the present law for over 40 years, and, notwithstanding Owens, has been continuing to do so since 2018, albeit with the caveat that drafting must be undertaken with extreme care to be sure to avoid a repeated debacle. Nevertheless, on account of the age of the present statute, legal, political and social theorists of course have strong arguments for a No Fault addition to the existing Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 or even for replacing the existing provisions of that statute altogether.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Divorce; Supreme Court; Family Law
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Divisions: School of Law
Depositing User: Malcolm Meaden-Pratt
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2021 13:24
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 13:24
URI: http://bear.buckingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/501

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item