Does the CCC underpin all family law practice?

Graeme Fraser, Head of Household and Partner, OGR Stock Denton LLP

The recently expanded definition of domestic violence to include coercive and controlling behaviors (‘CCB’) has a profound impact beyond children’s rights that everyone involved in family justice must recognize. CCB understands economic abuse that can continue after the relationship ends and in financial proceedings. CCB is a particular risk in financial remedies and Sch 1 cases involving continuing obligations. Practitioners should be especially careful when preparing and negotiating marriage agreements to check for signs of CCB. In cases of financial remedy, the Conduct includes economic oppression for selfish or malicious reasons which it is unfair to consider. However, it has been argued that the CCB is more likely to be reflected in the form rather than the substance of the order. The CCB can also affect the case for cohabitation law reform. Without a legal mechanism that compels parties to fairly resolve disputes, victims of abuse are at a particular disadvantage, disproportionately affecting some black and minority women. Policymakers should consider the extent to which the CCB itself forms a category in which special provisions apply to protect those most at risk of domestic violence. Family law must be accessible to those most in need of protection.

The full article will be published in the September issue of Family law.

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Jon J. Epps