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

By Thea Dunne -

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.

If you would like to know more about the issues covered in this article, Vardags offers a free consultation to qualifying individuals.

For high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals or their companies, our confidential enquiry line is staffed 24 hours. Call 020 7404 9390 today.

Thea Dunne

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