Dangerous Combination of Two New Acts
The Summary Procedure (Donrestic Proceedings) Act, 1937, which comes into force on October 1 will provide what is in effect a backdoor to divorce.
Under this Act provision is made for Justices to hold separate Courts for hearing domestic proceedings and for attempts at conciliation to be made before the issue of separation and maintenance orders.
Unsafe Safety Valve
On the whole the provisions of this Act are calculated to prevent the complete rupture of the marriage tie in many cases. Certain of its provisions are wise, especially those dealing with the attempts at conciliation and notably the section which lays it down that the probation officer or other person appointed by the Court to effect conciliation shall, if possible, be of the religious persuasion of the parties concerned.
In effect though, the Act will be used by many as a means of cheap divorce in con junction with the new Matrimonial Causes Act which comes in force on January 1 next. Under the Act divorce may be gi anted for desertion for at least three years.
Result of Combining Two Acts
By combining the two Acts as it were a wife can obtain a separation order from a Court of Summary Jurisdiction immediately desertion is established asking the Justices to omit the clause specifying that she be no longer required to live with the defendant.
At the end of three years she can proceed to claim divorce and the production of the Justices' order will be accepted as proof of desertion from the date established and a decree will he issued.
It is stated that Justices and Clerks to the Courts are already advising applicants to defer proceedings so that they may have the advantage of this simple and cheap means of securing divorce.