President of Family Division: “No good arguments” against no fault divorce

26 Mar 2012

Speaking at the 24th Resolution annual conference in Leeds, the President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall gave a strong backing to Resolution’s position that there should be legal provision for no fault divorce.

In a speech to over 300 delegates, Sir Nicholas said: “My position is very simple. I am a strong believer in marriage. But I see no good arguments against no fault divorce.”

He went on to say, “In the nineteenth century and for much of the twentieth, divorce was a matter of social status – it mattered whether you were divorced or not, and if you were, it was important to demonstrate that you were the “innocent” party. All that, I think, has gone.”

He also expressed concern that MIAMs are not working, observing that the government had introduced the process without making them compulsory, as this was felt inconsistent with the voluntary nature of mediation. He acknowledged that in some areas, judges are not following rules requiring them to encourage attendance at mediation. In concluding, he told practitioners that their aim “must be to encourage the court to make proper use of these powers".

He added his voice to the growing number of those expressing concern over legal Aid cuts, saying on one aspect in particular, “I very much hope that the changes in Legal Aid will not undo the painstaking and gradual recognition of domestic violence.”

He praised the work of Resolution and its members saying, “I salute you not just because you embody the highest standards of your profession – not just for the innovations you have brought to the practice of family law but also for the fact that you provide sound, sensible and realistic advice to and (where necessary) advocacy for your clients.”

Resolution’s national conference also saw Liz Edwards elected as the organisation’s new Chair. Ms Edwards, a partner with South East London practice Amphlett Lissimore, will head the national organisation, which represents over 6,500 members, for the next two years.

Speaking in her first address as Chair, she said: “With over six thousand members, we have an incredible wealth of experience between us. Our aim is to be seen as a critical friend of the Government: offering constructive help in shaping policy where we can; and speaking out against them when we think they are wrong.

“Our approach is not based on ideological dogma, nor driven out of self-interest. But because of the work we are doing day in, day out, we are able to spell out exactly how Whitehall thinking impacts on our clients’ everyday lives.”


For more information please contact:

Victoria Sutton – Communications Manager at Resolution on 0203 195 0191 or email

Notes to Editors

1. Resolution is a group of over 6500 family lawyers and professionals in England and Wales. It promotes a non-confrontational, constructive approach to resolving family disputes.

2. At the moment, the only ground for divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This can be proved in a number different ways but it is not possible for a couple to get a divorce without blame unless they have been separated for at least two years

3. A picture and biography of Liz Edwards is available on request.

4. Ms Edwards’ speech is available on request.

5. To read Sir Nicholas Wall’s full speech please visit: