The Financial Remedy Application and Beyond: To what extent is the victim-survivor protected from further abuse?

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Abstract

Other chapters in Part 2 of this book will consider emergency protection orders available to victim-survivors of domestic abuse through the civil and family courts. This includes but is not limited to non-molestation orders and occupation orders under the Family Law Act 1996, as well as Domestic Abuse Protection Orders being introduced under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. Those orders can be used to provide immediate protection and breathing space for a victim-survivor of domestic abuse, including potentially enabling them to remain safely in the family home, to the exclusion of the perpetrator of the abuse. However, these are temporary orders and, for victim-survivors who are (or were formerly) married or in a civil partnership with the perpetrator, this may only be the start of a very long process aimed at securing the longer-term financial positions for both parties (including arrangements for the family home).
Existing literature on this subject has focused on the the suitability of ADR for victim-survivors of domestic abuse and the way in which ‘conduct’ under s25(2)(g) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 has been interpreted by the family court. This chapter will build on that existing literature by considering the procedural aspects of contested financial remedy proceedings and the difficulties which may be faced by a victim-survivor of domestic abuse during that process.
This chapter will begin by considering funding options for victim-survivors of domestic abuse who are unable to resolve their financial position without recourse to contested financial remedy proceedings. This will then allow the financial remedy processes to be discussed both in the context of represented and unrepresented victim-survivors of domestic abuse. Recent developments will be critically analysed, including: the introduction of the Efficiency Statement, following the findings and recommendations of The Farquhar Committee; and the provisions being introduced under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to protect victim-survivors during contested proceedings, including through the use of special measures and prohibitions on direct cross-examination. The types of orders that the court can make at the conclusion of financial remedy proceedings and their appropriateness in domestic abuse related cases will be considered. Crucially, this chapter will also then go on to discuss difficulties which may be experienced by victim-survivors when seeking to implement or enforce those orders once proceedings have been concluded. This is in appreciation that a ‘final order’ is often not the end of the process, particularly in cases involving economic abuse and/or coercive and controlling behaviour. Throughout the chapter, the authors will make recommendations about the way in which the process could be made more accessible to unrepresented litigants whilst still protecting both parties’ legal rights and, importantly in domestic abuse cases, their safety.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Domestic Violence and Abuse
EditorsMandy Burton, Vanessa Bettinson, Kayliegh Richardson, Ana Speed
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
ISBN (Print)9781035300631
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Family Law
PublisherEdward Elgar

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