Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

In the conclusion to a two-part analysis, Deborah Jeff considers the law on non-matrimonial assets and the key principles applied

The first part of this article looked at the Privy Council decision in Scatliffe v Scatliffe [2016], and whether it had further developed the law relating to the treatment of non-matrimonial assets. This concluding part will examine the case law that preceded Scatliffe and the principles that will generally apply.

Natasha Kurth suggests that arguments as to conduct should be rare in financial proceedings, and approached with caution

The issue of conduct in financial remedy proceedings is fraught with difficulty, and parties are often keen to assert that their spouse has engaged in conduct that they consider should impact on a financial remedy award. A commonly cited example is adultery. All too often we have to advise our clients that the conduct they describe, even if abhorrent to them, would be disregarded by the court when dealing with financial provision.

Marco Calabrese and Rebecca Harling outline the approach to divorce and finances in Italy

There are a number of similarities between family law in England and Wales and in Italy, but also notable differences. While civil unions were introduced in Italy for same-sex couples in 2016, same-sex marriage is not yet available, although generally divorce and dissolution is on a ‘no-fault’ basis. Significantly, in relation to finances, a community property regime applies, unless the parties agree otherwise. In common with England and Wales, there has also been a move towards non-court dispute resolution, albeit with a focus on collaborative methods rather than mediation as in this jurisdiction.

Fiona O’Sullivan analyses the approach of the Court of Appeal in a case concerned with charitable trust assets

In Quan v Bray [2017] the Court of Appeal had an opportunity to consider the status of trust assets and how they should properly be accounted for in financial remedy proceedings. The issue was important to the wife’s financial claims as, during the marriage, the trust had received funding of £19.8m. If the wife had successfully persuaded the court to include the trust assets, this would have swelled the matrimonial resources significantly.

David Hickmott examines the Supreme Court decision in Birch v Birch and the importance of the discretionary jurisdiction in the family courts

The valedictory ceremony marking the retirements of Lords Neuberger and Clarke gave the clearest message that the Supreme Court is, and will remain, nothing if not a staunch defender of the rule of law and of the unfettered right of access to justice:

In the conclusion to a two-part analysis, Seamus Burns looks at the legal controls for egg sharing, together with issues as to consent and the requirements in relation to egg freezing

Part one: 'Dangerous ground', FLJ168, July/August 2017

Section 12(e) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (HFEA 1990) sets out one of the general licensing conditions applicable to the three types of licences under HFEA 1990, namely treatment, storage and research licences granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). It specifies that no money or other benefit shall be given or received in respect of any supply of gametes, embryos or human admixed embryos ‘unless authorised by directions’. This is effectively a general prohibition on the commercialisation of supplying eggs (ie gametes), preventing their supply in return for money or other benefit. However the HFEA has issued a direction that allows a person to receive a ‘benefit in kind’ as a consequence of egg sharing. The directions issued by the HFEA are downloadable from its website (see

Claire Molyneux and Louise Spalding recap developments to date regarding further protection for victims of domestic abuse within children proceedings

When Theresa May called the general election, the government abandoned the Prisons and Courts Bill, which had included draft provisions preventing cross-examination of victims by the alleged perpetrators of domestic violence in private child law proceedings. Uncertainty followed about when, or indeed if, the provisions would be reintroduced. The Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017 brought clarity. Alongside the Great Repeal Bill, and a plethora of ancillary legislation proposed to realise the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, there was confirmation that the provisions relating to cross-examination of victims by alleged perpetrators of domestic violence will now feature in a pared-down draft ‘Courts Bill’. Also announced was a draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Act (DVAA), which will be introduced during the current Parliamentary session.

Catherine Maguire asks whether there are changing judicial attitudes towards parental alienation

The decision in Re B (change of residence; parental alienation) [2017] reflects the gradual increase in judicial willingness, in the right circumstances, to change a child’s residence in cases of entrenched parental alienation.