Back in June 2019, we were all getting very excited about the prospect of finally, FINALLY, getting over the line with having no fault divorce. I wrote about it here. The bill was put before Parliament. All seemed to be progressing well. And then……. Whammo! Parliament is prorogued.
Prorogued? It is a fancy way of suspended or ending the current Parliamentary session. It usually happens just before the Parliament is going to give the Queen’s Speech setting out the aims for the next session of Parliament. There is a really interesting piece here from the House of Commons Library all about parliamentary sessions.
So why is it important or relevant in respect of no fault divorce? When Parliament ends the current Parliamentary session, any business also ends unless it is rolled over into the new session of Parliament. If a proposed bill (like changing divorce law) has not been finalised, it stops dead. If bills are not carried over, they either must be abandoned or reintroduced from scratch in the next parliamentary session.
Carrying over bills can prevent any parliamentary scrutiny that has already taken place from going to waste and reduces the amount of valuable parliamentary time taken up by reintroducing legislation in the next parliamentary session.
Unless you have avoided all television, Twitter, newspapers and all social media – oh, and you have not spoken to anyone either- then you must be aware of the Epic Battle going on in the Supreme Court about whether the Government (not the same as Parliament) was acting lawfully in proroguing Parliament – or whether, as some suggest, it was a way to stop debate and dispute about Brexit. Whilst that is going on, and I think even after the decision is made, we are not going to know what will happen to no fault divorce; or any of the other proposed new law being considered.
For now, let’s just hope the no fault divorce bill is rolled over. So near and yet so far…..