Statutes

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1961.tb00659.x
Publication Date01 Jan 1961
STATUTES
THE
MATRIMONIAL
PROCEEDINGS
(MAGISTRATES'
COURTS)
ACT,
1960
THIS
is far more than a consolidating statute.
It
incorporates
fundamental changes in the law and various amendments in both
law and procedure relating to matrimonial proceedings in magis-
trates' courts. Consolidation and some changes were recommended
by the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce,l and the
present Act is modelled fairly closely on the draft Bill prepared
by the departmental committee under the chairmanship
of
Arthian
Davies
J.,
which reported in
1959.2
When it comes into operation
the new Act will provide some new remedies and blot out some
unfortunate drafting and some bad decisions.'
It
will even (sad
though the passing of such an absurdity may appear) remove the
matrimonial law of England from the purview of the (liquor)
Licensing Acts.
The draft Bill on which the Act is based showed a genuine
attempt to look afresh at the basis of complaints in the magistrates'
courts and the remedies they may offer.
It
also marked a further
development of the realisation, in recent matrimonial legi~lation,~
of the idea of protection for infant children as such, their interests
being no long regarded exclusively as an extension of the personal
rights of their mothers. The considerable overlap of interests of
wives and children is no longer thought to justify the assumption
of absolute identity of interest in all circumstances.
A
major amendment to the law is that
for
the first time
a
husband may complain
to
the magistrates that his wife has
"
wil-
fully neglected to provide,
or
to make a proper contribution
towards, reasonable maintenance
"
for
the husband
or
any
"
child
of the family
"
where, by reason of the impairment of the hus-
band's earning capacity through age, illness,
or
disability of mind
1
Cmd.
9678
cf
1954.
paragraph
1018,
p.
267:
I'
the tiiue
is
ripe
for
a com-
solidation
of
ths various stahtory provisions and
re
therefore recommend
that the substantive law with regtyd to the jurisdiction and powers of
iu:igi~trat~\'
courts should be codified.
2
Cmnd.
638.
3
011
Janiinrv
1.
1901
:
S.I.
"223
of
19G0,
issued under
s.
19
(3)
of
thc .4ct.
4
e.g..
Ez;an's
v.
Evans
[1948] 1
K.B.
175
and
Mareruk
v.
Marczuk
r19.561
P.
217,
both of which arose-without inevitability-from unfortunate drafting
in the previous legislation. And see note
17,
Po.&.
This line of develop-
ment appears to have been initicbted by the Report of the Committee on
Procedure
in
Matrimonial Causes, under the chairmanship
of
Denning
L..T.,
Cmd.
7084
of
1947.
8
Defined in
s.
16
as
meaning
(a)
any. child of both parties and
(b)
any other
child
of
either party
who
has
been accepted as one
of
the family by the other
party. The same section define8
a
child as including an illegitimate or
adopted child, but
not
a
child adopted by third parties. The net effect
is
to
-
5
e.g.,
the Matrimonial Proceedings (Children) Act,
1958.
144

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