Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hopes dashed?

Frances Gibb in The Times today speculates whether the Madonna/Ritchie divorce could be the first high-profile case to take advantage of the new fast-track procedure announced by Mr Justice Coleridge last week, whereby consent orders can now be approved within a couple of days. I didn't cover this story last week, but in a nutshell collaborative law agreements can be brought before the duty judge at the Principal Registry and will be dealt with with just one day's notice (and out of turn), provided that every aspect of the case has been agreed and the hearing would last no more than 10 minutes. Mr Justice Coleridge felt that the prospect of having court documentation speedily finalised would be an incentive for couples to “knuckle down and negotiate to an agreed conclusion”.

We shall have to see whether the new procedure encourages couples to go down the collaborative law route, but lurid stories of the Madonna/Ritchie split in the wonderful British media unfortunately suggest that hopes of a quick and amicable settlement there may yet be dashed.

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