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Tuesday, 15 September 2009, 12:00AM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Divorce law - a disaster?

Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE

Divorce law was last reformed in 1969.  Since that date, the UK divorce rate has climbed to one of the highest in the world.  One-third of children experience their parents' divorce before they reach 16.  The median length of marriage before dissolution is 11 years; many divorced women face poverty.  Has the law contributed to this situation, and does it matter?  What reforms should be made to divorce law?

This is a part of the lecture series, Family Relationships and the Law since the 1960's. The other lectures in this series are as follows:        
   What's a woman worth? The maintenance law        
   Cohabitation and the Law     
   Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters         
   Civil Partnerships        
   Cousin Marriage

baroness-deech-of-cumnor-dbe

Professor the Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE was the Gresham Professor of Law between 2008 and 2012. She is Chair of the Bar Standards Board, a position she has held since 2009.

Baroness Deech received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from St. Anne's College, Oxford, before going on to further legal studies in the U.S.A. and the Netherlands. Three years after being called to the Bar (Inner Temple), she returned to St. Anne's College, Oxford, where she took up the position of Tutorial Fellow in Law, a position she held until she became the Principal of the College in 1991. During this period, Professor Deech held a number of highly prestigious international positions within academia, the legal profession and beyond. These include Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford (2001-2004) and BBC Governor (2002-2006).

In 2004 she stepped down from her positions at Oxford and became the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (2004-2008).  Professor Deech's specialisation is in reproductive law, medicine and ethics. Through this she was the Chairman of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1994-2002), a non-executive Director of the Oxfordshire Health Authority (1993-1994) and an ex officio member of the Human Genetics Commission (1991-2002).

Professor Deech was appointed a crossbench Peer in 2005 and is currently a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications.

Professor Deech's 2008/09 series of lectures focussed on the legal and ethical issues surrounding reproductive medicine. Her 2009/10 series of lectures focused on the place of various family relationships within the law since the 1960's, from divorce law to civil partnerships. Her 2011/12 series of lectures focussed on regulation across a range of public bodies, including higher education, the BBC and the legal profession.

All of Baroness Deech’s previous lectures may be accessed here.

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15 September 2009

Divorce law - a disaster?
Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE

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