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John Oxley tackles the issues of criminal proceedings in the family courts in Family Law journal

John Oxley tackles the issues of criminal proceedings in the family courts in Family Law journal

Chekhov warned never to place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. Despite the arsenal that the Family Courts have at their disposal to protect people’s family lives, the bringing of criminal charges is a weapon rarely fired.

In a recent article in Family Law, Vardags barrister John Oxley makes a powerful case for pulling the trigger where justice is subverted by dishonest disclosure. “A scourge upon the Family Courts”, dishonest and fraudulent non-disclosure too often denies litigants their fair share, or forces them to incur costs in protracted proceedings.

The threat of criminal action could do much to ensure frank and full disclosure, coupled with the transferral of cases to investigative authorities with the power for international investigation.

John outlines the reasons for the family court’s tentativeness and explains how civil and criminal proceedings might be at odds. Punitive measures might compromise, for example,  a party’s ability to meet a financial order.

However he concludes that would be a mistake to be too circumspect when the case fits. The case law may be scant but, when criminal conduct is spotted, he argues, “the gun should not remain unfired”.

Subscribers can find the article in the March issue of Family Law.

Thea Dunne
Thea joined Vardags in September 2016. She read English at Trinity College, Cambridge and previously interned at Christie’s Auction House.

As a student she founded a fine art society, held life drawing sessions, wrote poetry and plays and edited the student newspaper. She was involved in theatre productions, strictly only ever backstage, and took courses in Spanish and Arabic.

Thea grew up moving around and has lived in Germany, Spain and Penang, Malaysia. In her final years at school she volunteered at a school on a Rohingya refugee camp at weekends. She enjoys opera, world theatre and travel, and has a particular fixation with nineteenth-century novels.  

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