§ Mr. Rhodes James
asked the Attorney-General whether it is proposed to seek to amend sections 23, 24 and 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in order to clarify the financial criteria on the redistribution of family assets between the parties.389W
§ The Solicitor-General
No. These criteria, which are based on the recommendations made by the Law Commission in its report on financial provision in matrimonial proceedings (Law Corn. No. 25), were originally enacted in section 5 of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act 1970 and have subsequently been re-enacted in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Parliament has adopted the same criteria in section 3 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975—in relation to applications by members of the deceased's immediate family for reasonable provision out of the estate—and in section 3 of the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Act 1978—in relation to claims for maintenance in magistrates' courts. All these enactments, while laying down clear criteria, preserve the discretion of the court to take account of the circumstances of particular cases.