Sir James Munby, president of the high court’s family division said no-fault divorce should be introduced to help women who are “trapped in a loveless marriage”.

He backed calls for a reform of marriage law by referring to a controversial case which has forced a woman to stay married to a man she wishes to divorce.

Owens v Owens, is currently being considered by the Supreme Court, and was overseen by Sir James in the Court of Appeal last year.

Currently couples who wish to split must cite a reason that the marriage is unviable, such as unreasonable behaviour or adultery on the part of one party.

Mrs Owens was unable to divorce her husband because she could not prove that his behaviour had been sufficiently unreasonable.

Sir James said, that he had been unable to grant Mrs Owens a divorce because while she, “with some justification, considered herself trapped in a loveless marriage, had failed to establish any ‘ground’ upon which she was entitled to a decree; specifically because, to use the convenient short-hand expression, she had failed to establish ‘unreasonable behaviour’ on the part of her husband.”

The law is “very badly in need of reform”, he said.

Sir James, in the Court of Appeal last year, said that “the law which the judges have to apply and the procedures which they have to follow are based on hypocrisy and lack of intellectual honesty”.

Last year Baroness Hale of Richmond, the President of the Supreme Court, also said blame should be removed from the divorce process.

Wrigley Claydon, we fight on your behalf to make this difficult time a little easier. We are experienced family lawyers and can assist you with the legal aspects of any family situation in which you may find yourself. We deal with our cases sensitively.


If you are looking for family advice then please call 0161 624 6811 to speak to Terri Pickup or Corinne Bailey-Brown in our Family Department or email,

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Vijay is the Senior Partner and heads up the Litigation team at Wrigley Claydon, where he has worked for over 30 years, amassing a wealth of experience. Many years ago, Vijay was appointed to the Law Society Personal Injury Solicitor Panel as a specialist in injury claims. This has led him to act in many high value injury claims and medical negligence cases. His experience in and knowledge of procedural matters and the interpretation of medico-legal reports and other expert evidence, combined with his friendly but professional approach, enable Vijay to provide a service to clients we believe is second to none. 
 Vijay advises both Corporate and Private clients on cost-effective ways of bringing and defending claims in the Courts. He has successfully acted on numerous large contractual claims and many disputed probate cases. Vijay has lived in Oldham most of his life. After graduating from Leeds University, he trained at Wrigley Claydon, where he soon became one of the youngest partners in the country. Vijay is happily married and has two children. He has served as a member of the Parochial Church Council at St. Paul’s Church and as a Founder Trustee of Emmaus Mossley takes a great interest in the local community. He is now the Chairman of Governors at the school (Oldham Hulme Grammar) where he was once the head boy. Vijay is also a Trustee of the nationally acclaimed Francis House Children's Hospice as well as being an Assessor in Oldham's "Dragon's Den".