HC Deb 26 July 1985 vol 83 cc851-2W
Ms. Harman

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the latest position as regards the implementation by his Department of the recommendations which affect its responsibilities of the report of the Finer committee on one-parent families.

Mr. Ancram

Recommendations 54 and 59 to 63 are the only parts of the Finer committee report which are specifically directed to the situation in Scotland.

Recommendation 54: since 1979 the Civil Judicial Statistics have been published in a form suggested by the working party on civil judicial statistics which took account of the Finer committee's recommendations.

Recommendations 59 and 61: these recommendations relate to the institution of a system of administrative orders and to family courts. The Government have stated that they have no plans to reconsider these recommendations which were rejected by the previous Government.

Recommendation 60: the Divorce (Scotland) Act 1976 established irretrievable breakdown of marriage as the sole ground of divorce and applied the same criteria for actions of separation. Since 1 May 1984 the sheriff court and the Court of Session have had concurrent jurisdiction in divorce actions under the Divorce Jurisdiction, Court Fees and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1983.

Recommendation 62: the recently enacted Family Law (Scotland) Act makes fresh and important provision in the law of Scotland regarding aliment, in accordance with the recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission.

Recommendation 63: the considerations underlying this recommendation continue to be borne in mind. The Scottish Law Commission has reviewed certain key areas of Scots family law which were discussed in the Finer report. Its report on occupancy rights in the matrimonial home and domestic violence formed the basis for the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981. The recommendations contained in the commission's report on aliment and financial provision have been enacted in the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985. The Government are considering the commission's report on illegitimacy.