Matrimonial Causes for Concern?

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After White v White it has been argued that England and Wales are on the way to a matrimonial property regime. This notion has expressly been rejected by Bennett J in Sorrell v Sorrell and also by Baroness Hale in Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane – for the time being. This article takes a comparative view, contrasting the matrimonial property and maintenance systems of the Nordic Countries and Germany with ancillary relief in England in Wales. It concludes that while there are some interesting similarities and comparative law therefore can fulfil an important function, there nevertheless are fundamental differences, particularly as to the retention of principally unfettered judicial discretion, the amalgamation of property and maintenance issues in England and Wales and the importance that is attributed to the matrimonial home. These differences preclude a finding of a ‘matrimonial property system’ in England in Wales.

Keywords: Germany; Matrimonial property; Nordic Countries; ancillary relief; comparative law; maintenance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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