This self-published book has had the benefit of guidance from an orthodox Jewish judge from a religious court.
Running to 130 pages, it addresses the plight of the ‘average ultra-orthodox Jewish client’ (if there is such a person). Vincent, a retired family solicitor and past member of the Law Society Children Panel, takes this client to be a religious woman with the following predicament: she is discouraged from taking independent civil legal advice and is in the position of attempting to procure a religious divorce (‘get’), as well as establish future arrangements for children and finances.
Its content would seem to fall somewhere between a layperson’s guide and a practitioner’s manual. The book focuses on the interplay between private, civil family law in England and Wales (but not Scotland) and Jewish religious law (Halacha) on divorce and children.
The book is arranged into chapters broadly split between ancillary relief, financial claims and private children applications. It reflects the impact of the reduction in the availability of public funding, as well as independent civil legal advice. It assumes that, in the main, husbands are legally represented while wives cannot afford to be.
The final two sections containing questions and answers are a good starting point. The book’s strengths include reminding all practitioners of the need to address the dissolution of the religious marriage in the context of future arrangements for the family, the children and the division of finances. Its other strength is to show empathy with those who may not be aware of the safety net that the civil law provides.
Author: Benjamin Vincent
Vincent has good working knowledge of and insight into how the ultra-orthodox community and its courts (batei din) operate. Sadly, the book does not explore what impact ADR and in particular the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators scheme may have. It is more a reflection of the status quo, rather than an exploration of practical strategies or possible future developments.
- For a copy of Civil and Jewish Divorce: A Guide, please contact Benjamin Vincent direct, tel: 020 8958 4364, 07958 700 970; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Anticoni is a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys