Topic 1:- Should divorce law be reformed, to allow for no-fault divorces and the end of the “blame game” in marital breakdowns?

 

Summary:- This thesis will critically explore divorce law, considering the limited set of grounds for divorce under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, wherein an applicant is required to either prove their partner is at fault through, adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour, or if both parties agree, they can part after 2 years separation. Moreover, consideration will be given as to what the aims of modern divorce law should embody, applying this critical analysis to the present proposals for reform. The law should primarily be concerned with the termination of marriage, which at present postulates conflicting aims, namely, protecting the sanctity of marriage by imposing barriers, or coercing parties into mediation, or even by providing a process which allows for minimal distress, and humiliation; the balancing of these aims, may however, distort the practical application of divorce law.

 

Divorce is significant social phenomenon, which has considerable relevance to modern society. At present, it is estimated that one in three marriages will end in divorce before its 15th wedding anniversary and in 2017, there were 101,669 divorces of opposite sex couples and 338 of same-sex couples.

 

Topic 2:- Should the law on domestic violence be reformed, to remove the bias towards male victims?

 

Summary:-  This thesis will consider the how the construction of the law on domestic violence as a gendered, heterosexual phenomenon is problematic, particularly considering how its physical nature has marginalised male victims of domestic abuse, which has arguably prevented them from obtaining victim status. Moreover, this thesis will draw upon the comparisons between female, and male victims, considering how male victims receive less support, and recognition from society. Accordingly, this study will highlight the invisibility of male victims, and how not only the law, but the services provided to abuse victims is gender specific, catering towards female victims.

 

It is suggested that domestic abuse as a social concern remains relatively recent, as until the 90’s it was considered a private dispute, a family argument so to speak, that should be resolved within the home; therefore, outside involvement was discouraged. However, in 2012 the Home Office sought to amend the offence, allowing for the incorporation of 16 and 17 year old minors, altering the phrasing to provide for coercive control, and the definition was broadened, so as to include both violence, and other forms of abuse.