§ Mr. Robert McCartney
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate she has made of the cost of the academic inquiry into the possibility of 359W extending the Family Law Act 1996 to Northern Ireland; and for what reason that inquiry was commissioned. 
The Family Law Act 1996 contains provisions relating to domestic violence and occupation of the family home, and the grounds for divorce. After examining the practicalities of direct extension, it was considered that proceedings by way of Order in Council would produce the most coherent and easily understood provisions on domestic violence.
As regards the ground for divorce, it was considered that most information and public debate in the way that current divorce law is used in Northern Ireland was required before a decision could be taken on the way forward. It was for this reason that a major research project into divorce practice and procedure was commissioned and Ministers will await the outcome of that research before formulating any proposals for reform of the divorce law in Northern Ireland. The total cost of the research project is estimated at £50,000.