Tuesday, May 30, 2006

M & M: Family Law for All?

As expected, journalists and family law pundits have started a feeding frenzy at the bowl of Miller and McFarlane. Over the weekend virtually every newspaper contained an article examining the effects of the judgment for the future of family law, including the Times, the Guardian and the Independent.

As I have mentioned before, I am a little sceptical of just how much another big money judgment will affect most divorcing couples. Like the vast majority of family lawyers in this country, most of my clients are of average means: three bed semi, 2.5 children, average income, little or no savings, modest pension. We are all supposed to follow precedents, i.e. cases decided by the higher courts. Unfortunately, however, most people cannot afford to use the higher courts, so most precedents we have involve people with wealth that bears no relation to my clients' means - just how valuable are these precedents to them? Only time will tell.

Still, no doubt the experts will make plenty of money selling books and seminars to lawyers, telling us how important the judgment is.

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