§ Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked
Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they still intend to implement Part II of the Family Law Act 1996 in 2000.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)
No. Before implementing Part II, the Government must be satisfied that the new arrangements for divorce which it would put in place will work. The pilot projects which have been run to test the provision of information meetings under Part II were concluded at the end of May. The preliminary research results are disappointing in view of the Government's objectives of saving saveable marriages and encouraging the mediated settlement of disputes. A summary of the research results so far will be published today, and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The full research results from the pilots will not be ready until early next year when the Government will consider whether further research is necessary.
The Government will therefore bring forward amendments today to the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill currently before Parliament to ensure that its pension sharing provisions can take effect under the existing divorce law or under the divorce law as reformed by Part II of the Family Law Act. A set of supplementary explanatory notes for the Bill will be available from today.