Scots law, in terms of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985, provides a framework for financial provision on divorce which is based on explicit principles and has well defined objectives. Parties on divorce can apply to the court for financial provision but, although the Act has been in place for more than 25 years, and during that time has been generally well received, little is known about how it works in practice.
The aim of this project is to investigate, within the context of adjudicated cases, the ways in which the statutory provisions are used, how they operate in practice and the experience of those legal professionals involved in their use; solicitors, advocates and judges. Data will be collected from all published decisions dealing with financial provision on divorce since the 1985 Act came into force. Data from these decisions will be analysed quantitatively to identify the extent and patterns of use of the various statutory principles and provisions and qualitatively in terms of themes including equal sharing, fairness and economic disadvantage. These issues will be further explored through in-depth interviews with lawyers and judges.
Dr Jane MairUniversity of Glasgow
Director, WelfareNuffield Foundation