15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 3

Divorce Reform

Last Saturday Mr. Justice Denning's committee on procedural reforms in Matrimonial Causes published its second interim report, which is concerned with the hastening and simplifying of procedure and the reduction of costs. An obvious way of dealing with a greater number of cases would be to dispose of them in the inferior courts as well as in the High Court as at present, but the committee believes that this might lead the public to consider marriage too lightly. It therefore recommends that the 57 County Court Judges shall be appointed Divorce Commissioners, having, while they are acting, the status and pay of High Court Judges. They will sit both in London and the Provinces—in Assize towns and a number of others—and, it is calculated should deal with about 28,000 undefended cases annually, and possibly with some short defended cases. Turning to financial aspects, the committee states that the present cost of an undefended case, L70, is far too high, and it suggests simplifications which should cut this figure by half. These are obviously sensible recommendations, some of them, regarding the use of the County Court Judges, the Government has already decided to adopt. But there is one aspect they do not touch—the saving of some marriages by discussion. This aspect, the setting up of machinery for reconciliation, will be considered in a third report.