Exclusive: Interview with Edgar Venal

Family Lore: Today I have the very great honour to be interviewing Edgar Venal, here in his office. Edgar Venal is the Senior Partner of leading divorce lawyers Venal & Grabbit. He has had a long and glorious career, acting for the rich and famous (particularly the rich). He has written extensively on the subject of family law, his published books including How to squeeze the last penny out of divorce clients and Mediation? Don't make me laugh. He has also received numerous awards, having won the prestigious Family Law Fee Earner of the Year Award for the last three years running, the Practical Family Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award and the Better At Family Lawyering Than Any Other Family Lawyer Award.

Mr Venal, thank you for agreeing to this interview. It is a privilege to be speaking with you today.

Edgar Venal: I know.

FL: Quite. Now, I would like to discuss with you some of the big issues in family law today. What, for example, are your views on gay marriage?

EV: I fully support it. After all, more marriage means more divorces, which means more work for family lawyers.

FL: There are some who have argued that it could lead to other changes in the institution of marriage, even polygamy. What are your thoughts on that?

EV: I have no problem with polygamy. After all, more marriage means more divorces, as I have said.

FL: I see. Moving on, legal aid for private law family matters will be abolished next April. What are your thoughts on that?

EV: I think it is an excellent thing.

FL: Really?

EV: Yes. Getting rid of legal aid will mean more private clients, which will mean more money for us lawyers who are too sensible to do legal aid work.

FL: But many people won't be able to afford to instruct a solicitor on a private basis. That will mean the courts clogging up with litigants in person. Won't that be a bad thing?

EV: Not at all. It will be a time of great opportunity for lawyers to get good results for their clients by bullying and harassing people who don't know their way around the legal system.

FL: Hmm. Of course, the Government hopes that the issue will be relieved by more people using mediation. What do you think about that?

EV: Mediation denies litigants what they really want: the chance to have their day in court. As with most progressive family lawyers, I do everything I can to discourage it.

FL: You believe most progressive family lawyers are opposed to mediation?

EV: Oh yes. We have started a fight back against this scourge. I like to call us "Conflict Magnification Professionals".

FL: "Conflict Magnification Professionals"?

EV: Yes. We work to encourage conflict and dispute between parties to family litigation. For their own good, of course.

FL: Of course. On a different subject, what are your thoughts about the Family Justice Review?

EV: Well, obviously I am concerned that any change in law or procedure could simplify things to the extent that those involved in family breakdown may be foolish enough to believe that they can proceed without legal representation. However, I am confident that those responsible for the Review will ensure that this does not happen.

FL: Do you have any views on the shared parenting issue?

EV: None at all. Whatever the law, parents will still fight tooth and nail over the arrangements for their children, so we family lawyers will still have plenty of work to do.

FL: And what about the Law Commission's project on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements. What are your views on pre-nups?

EV: Well, I suppose preparing them is all work for lawyers, but I do worry that they could reduce financial disputes after divorce.

FL: On that subject, some people are proposing that there be a formula for determining financial settlements on divorce. Do you think that would be a good idea?

EV: Perish the thought! Where's the fun in divorce if you can't argue over finances?

FL: And where's the income for lawyers?

EV: Exactly. And on that subject, I have fee-earning to do, so if you would kindly bring this interview to a close and vacate my office, I should be obliged.

FL: Oh, OK. Thank you for your time.

EV: Pleasure. My account will follow in the post.