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.
Vardags Limited is a limited company trading as Vardags, Company No 7199468, registered in England and Wales, having its registered office at 10 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7NG. Vardags is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number 535955). Its VAT number is 99 001 7230.
Vardags uses the term ‘Partner’ as a professional title only, to describe a Senior Solicitor, Employee or Consultant with relevant experience, expertise and qualifications (whether legally qualified or otherwise) to merit the title. Our Partners are not partners in the legal sense. They are not liable for the debts, liabilities or obligations of Vardags Limited. Similarly, the term ’Director’ is a professional title only, to describe a non-legally qualified employee or consultant of Vardags with relevant experience, expertise and qualifications to merit the title. It does not necessarily imply that the relevant individual is a director of Vardags Limited.
A list of the directors of Vardags Limited and a list of the names of those using the title of ’Director’ and ’Partner’ together with their official status is available for inspection at Vardags’ registered office.