One divorce size does not fit all - Paris Smith Skip to content

22nd December 2014

One divorce size does not fit all


22nd December 2014

One divorce size does not fit all

I was sad to read Simon Kelner’s ill considered article in the Independent on Friday, in which three claims were made.

Apparently, the legal system is “rigged in favour of the lawyers”. Divorce lawyers encourage clients to “focus solely on financial settlement”, leading to “mercenary behaviour”. Lawyers promote conflict, as they have “everything to gain by prolonging an argument rather than seeking a remedy”.

Mr Kelner claims some knowledge of divorce in his article, possibly his own. I wonder whether the national press is the most appropriate forum for him to work out his own negative feelings, placing the blame on the justice system and the people who work in it.

Mr Kelner’s article utterly ignores decades of good work by Resolution (see He ignores the statistical fact that the vast majority of divorce cases never enter the court, let alone go to a final hearing. He ignores that many family lawyers are also trained mediators and collaborative lawyers, actively seeking no court solutions for families. He ignores the fact that (in most cases) any person must see a mediator before even making an application to court. For those few cases that do proceed to court, as some must, he ignores that it is the role of the judge and not the lawyers to manage the case. He ignores the fact that most court cases settle before a final hearing – and that the system has inbuilt settlement procedures to allow that to happen. It is the choice of customers whether to spend money on legal services. It is the choice of the customer how a particular case proceeds.

One or two high profile examples of litigation gone (badly) wrong are in no way indicative of how the vast majority of family lawyers – and their clients – work around problems and towards solutions.

I feel an article about journalists coming on.

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