HC Deb 22 May 1989 vol 153 c397W
Ms. Richardson

To ask the Attorney-General if he intends to take any action to prevent divorce notifications in newspapers containing the reasons for a divorce; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General

To provide protection against divorces being granted where the facts required by law do not exist, Parliament provided in section 9 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 that any person may show why a decree nisi of divorce should not be made absolute. To that end, the evidence and facts pleaded in support of a divorce petition are available to the public either through a hearing in open court or by allowing them to examine the certificate of the decree nisi and the filed evidence. Although the press are restricted in what they may report by the Judicial Proceedings (Regulation of Reports) Act 1926, they may among other things, report the names and addresses of the parties and the statutory facts on which the petition relies. Given the policy underlying section 9, it would not be appropriate to impose any greater restriction upon what the press may publish. The Law Commission is, however, reviewing the law relating to the grant of divorce and the Lord Chancellor has made arrangements for this matter to be drawn to its attention.