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Divorce law must change as a result of the Owen and Owen case

When the lower court refuse to allow her to divorce her husband, Mrs Owen appealed but the Court of Appeal upheld the refusal to allow her divorce even though it accepted the marriage had broken down.  This was because a detailed list of unreasonable behaviour was contested.

Lady Hale, Supreme Court president and Lord Mance gave concurring judgments. Hale said she found the case ‘very troubling’ but said ‘it is not for us to change the law laid down by parliament – our role is only to interpret and apply the law that parliament has given us’.

Parliament must surely change the law to allow people to divorce a partner with whom the marriage has broken down even if that partner does not wish it.  Would the appeal have been any different if it had been the man asking for the divorce?

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