HC Deb 04 March 1996 vol 273 cc70-1W
37. Mr. Cohen

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the effect of his proposal to require a one-year wait for divorce upon marriages where there is a history of violence. [16453]

Mr. Jonathan Evans

The circumstances of marriages with a history of violence were carefully considered in the preparation of the divorce reform proposals. I believe that victims of violence are adequately protected by domestic violence legislation. Protection against domestic violence is not, and should not be, linked to the ability to get a divorce.

Sir Michael Neubert

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what further plans he has to involve children of divorcing parents in his proposals for divorce law reform. [16446]

Mr. Evans

Our proposals will ensure that during the period for reflection and consideration parents will give close attention to the arrangements for children. Generally, our proposals are intended to reduce conflict between the parents, which will be to the advantage of children. Decisions relating to residence of and contact with children after divorce will continue to be dealt with under the Children Act 1989 and the welfare of children will continue to be paramount in these proceedings. We have no plans to increase the involvement of children in the legal process for divorce.

Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on his plans to reform the law relating to divorce. [16813]

Mr. Jonathan Evans

The Family Law Bill, which implements the proposals on divorce and mediation set out in the White Paper, "Looking to the Future—Mediation and the Ground for Divorce", published in April 1995, was introduced in the House of Lords on 16 November 1995. It received its Second Reading on 30 November, completed its Committee Stage on 30 January 1996 and is currently on Report. The Bill also reintroduces family law and domestic violence proposals, amended from the Family Homes and Domestic Violence Bill, which did not complete all its stages in the last session.

Number of Lord Justices of Appeal appointed Number of High Court judges appointed Number of circuit judges appointed Total number in post and proportion of women
Total Women Total Women Total Women Total Women
1991 0 0 5 0 49 3 568 24 4.2 per cent.
1992 5 0 11 2 54 4 594 29 4.9 per cent.
1993 5 0 22 2 48 5 622 34 5.5 per cent.
1994 4 0 8 1 35 2 638 36 5.6 per cent.
1995 9 0 12 1 41 6 645 37 5.7 per cent.