There should be more reporting of judgments dealing with claims for financial provision at the end of cohabitation, according to a family law advocate.
Kirsty Malcolm made the comment during an evidence session at the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament, which is scrutinising the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006.
Part of the discussion centred on s 28 of the Act, which made such claims possible for unmarried couples who split up, and Ms Malcolm described as “disappointing” the level of publicity given to judgments on applications under s 28.
“For practitioners to properly understand an approach the court might or might not take, it seems to me that that is not going to happen unless there is publication of the decisions that are being made by sheriffs,” Ms Malcolm added.
“I do not know what rules apply in relation to sheriffs putting their judgments on the Scottish Courts website, what dictates whether they do and don’t… it would clearly help them as well, among the shrieval profession… if there is more publicity about the judgments that are being reached, then everybody benefits.”
Another point of discussion was the forms used to inform a child of an action and to seek his or her views. Ms Malcolm told the committee that wholesale reform of the forms was being undertaken and that the Faculty regarded them as “a wholly inadequate document”.
Faculty has previously proposed that advice should be sought from child psychologists and teachers – and from children themselves.