Wyatt v Vince: The Reality of Individualised Justice – Financial Orders, Forensic Delay, and Access to Justice

27: 2 Child and Family Law Quarterly 195-208, 2015

21 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2015  

Lucinda Ferguson

University of Oxford, Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 7, 2015

Abstract

In Wyatt v Vince, the Supreme Court was called upon to consider the correct interpretation of rule 4.4 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010, which governs the court’s power to strike out a statement of case. The Court of Appeal’s 2013 decision, from which the wife appealed, was the first reported decision on the interpretation of rule 4.4. This case commentary examines the Supreme Court’s unanimous judgment in detail. Whilst the judicial interpretation of rule 4.4 resolves the matter before the court, Lord Wilson’s judgment contains critical analysis of the nature of ‘needs’ and ‘contributions’ within the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 25 exercise, both independently and as they relate to delay. The court responds to the ‘forensic delay’ on the facts by narrowing its construction of ‘needs’ to those generated by the relationship and treating delay as a countervailing consideration to weigh against ‘contributions.’ The former reasoning raises the possibility of a more coherent, interpersonal theoretical basis for financial provision upon relationship breakdown more generally. The latter arguably constructs delay as a substantive consideration, which strengthens the social obligation basis for financial provision.

Suggested Citation

Ferguson, Lucinda, Wyatt v Vince: The Reality of Individualised Justice – Financial Orders, Forensic Delay, and Access to Justice (July 7, 2015). 27: 2 Child and Family Law Quarterly 195-208, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2627835

Lucinda Ferguson (Contact Author)

University of Oxford, Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

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