6.2.4 Ignition Systems
The basic requirement of any ignition system is to deliver a high-tension spark to the spark plugs in each cylinder in the correct firing order at the correct time. This spark ignites the fuel/air mixture powering the pistons and producing work so to turn the propeller.
Magneto Ignition
A magneto uses a permanent magnet to generate an electrical current completely independent of the aircraft’s electrical system. The magneto generates sufficiently high voltage to jump a spark across the spark plug gap in each cylinder. The system begins to fire when the starter is engaged and the crankshaft begins to turn. It continues to operate whenever the crankshaft is rotating. The magneto system is mounted on the accessory drive unit located at the rear of the engine.

2502299114631500Most standard certificated aircraft incorporate a dual ignition system with two individual magnetos, separate sets of wires, and spark plugs to increase reliability of the ignition system. Each magneto operates independently to fire its own spark plug in each cylinder. The firing of two spark plugs in each cylinder improves combustion of the fuel-air mixture and results in a slightly higher power output. If one of the magnetos fails, the other is unaffected. This redundancy allows the engine to continue normal operation, although a slight decrease in engine RPM can be expected. The same concept of redundancy applies to the spark plugs. Operation of the magnetos are controlled in the flight deck through the ignition switch. The switch has five positions:
R (right)
L (left)

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With RIGHT or LEFT selected, only the associated magneto is activated. The system operates on both magnetos when BOTH is selected.
A malfunctioning ignition system can be identified during the pre-takeoff check by observing the decrease in R.P.M that occurs when the ignition switch is first moved from BOTH to RIGHT and then from BOTH to LEFT. A small decrease in engine R.P.M is normal during this check. The permissible decrease is listed in the POH. If the engine stops running when switched to one magneto or if the rpm drop exceeds the allowable limit, do not fly the aircraft until the problem is corrected.
The cause could be fouled plugs, broken or shorted wires between the magneto and the plugs, or improperly timed firing of the plugs. It should be noted that “no drop” in R.P.M is not normal, the aircraft should not be flown and sent in for immediate inspection.
“No drop” means one of the magnetos is not grounding and can result in unintended start-up by turning the propeller by hand. Following engine shutdown, turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. Even with the battery and master switches OFF, the engine can fire and turn over if the ignition switch is left ON and the propeller is moved because the magneto requires no outside source of electrical power. Be aware of the potential for serious injury in this situation.
Even with the ignition switch in the OFF position, if the ground wire between the magneto and the ignition switch becomes disconnected or broken, the engine could accidentally start if the propeller is moved with residual fuel in the cylinder. If this occurs, the only way to stop the engine is to move the mixture lever to the Idle Cut-Off (I.C.O) position, then have the system checked by a qualified AMO.
Starting Aids
In order to produce a spark in the plugs, the magneto spins a magnet within a soft iron coil core. This creates an alternating current within the coil and creates as much as 20 000 volts to fire the spark plugs. Effective sparks are only produced once the magnet is rotating at speeds of about 500 R.P.M. Any speed below this results in weaker sparks and prolongs engine start-up. Low engine R.P.M on start-up require a delayed spark in order to prevent kick-back. This is a premature power stroke caused by normal magneto timing set for higher R.P.M and can lead to the crankshaft being forced in the wrong direction.
Impulse coupling is incorporated into one of the magnetos to help overcome this problem on start-up. The benefits are two-fold. Firstly, it accelerates the rotation of the magnet producing a higher voltage, and therefore better spark, and secondly to retard the spark at lower R.P.M experienced during start-up.

The magneto employs spring weights and a spring-loaded coupling which initially prevents the magneto from turning. Once the spring is fully wound it releases the magnet which now, due to the increased rotational velocity, results in both a hot and late start during start. Once the engine is running, the centrifugal force of the flyweights ensures the impulse coupling is disconnected.

Ignition leads carry the high voltage generated by the magnetos to the spark plugs. The spark plug is designed in such a way as to allow this high voltage to jump between the central insulated electrode and the grounded electrode, creating a spark of sufficient intensity to ignite the fuel/air mixture under compression.
The spark plug is a useful indicator of engine condition. At each mandatory inspection the plugs are removed for inspection and testing. Normal engine operation is indicated by a light grey coating of the end of the plugs. Excessive wear may indicate detonation. In cases where the engine has been operated with too rich a mixture, black sooty-like deposits will appear. Whereas white powdery deposits will be found on plugs from engines operated with too lean a mixture. Black oily deposits indicate excessive oil consumption. If hard brittle deposits are found in the end cavity, lead in the fuel is not being removed during combustion, and if left, the deposits can build up sufficiently causing the high voltage to ground without a spark. This often results in a “mag drop” which can be identified by a rough running engine and an excessive loss in R.P.M. If this is detected on the ground during magneto checks, the flight must be abandoned. The gap between the central and ground electrode is adjustable and should be set to manufacturer requirements. Too small, or large a gap will affect the efficiency and size of the spark produced and can lead to incomplete combustion and a rough running engine.

6.1. As antimicrobial agent: The antibacterial impacts of silver nanoparticles have been utilized to control bacterial development in an assortment of uses, including dental work, medical procedure applications, wounds and consumes treatment, and biomedical gadgets. It is notable that silver particles and silver based mixes are exceedingly harmful to microorganisms. Presentation of silver nanoparticles into bacterial cells can instigate a high level of basic and morphological changes, which can prompt cell passing. Researchers have exhibited that the antibacterial impact of silver nanoparticles is for the most part because of the continued arrival of free silver particles from the nanoparticles, which fill in as a vehicle for silver particles. silver nanoparticles were found to gather in the bacterial film. A layer with such a morphology shows a noteworthy increment in porousness, bringing about death of the cell72,73. The significance of bactericidal nanomaterials ponder is a direct result of the expansion in new safe strains of microscopic organisms against most powerful anti-infection agents. This has advanced research in the notable action of silver particles and silver-based mixes, including silver nanoparticles74. The bactericidal properties of the nanoparticles are measure subordinate, since the main nanoparticles that present an immediate communication with the microorganisms specially have a distance across of ~1– 10 nm75. Silver-treated cotton texture demonstrated 99.01 % bacterial decrease of Staphylococcus aureus and 99.26 % bacterial decrease of Escherichia coli76. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) nanofiber containing silver nanoparticles was integrated by radical-intervened scattering polymerization and connected to an antibacterial agent. UV?vis spectroscopic examination demonstrated that the silver nanoparticles were ceaselessly discharged from the polymer nanofiber in fluid arrangement. The antibacterial properties of silver/PMMA nanofiber against both Gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) microbes were assessed utilizing least inhibitory focus (MIC), the adjusted Kirby?Bauer technique, and a motor test77.

6.2. Indicative Applications: Silver nanoparticles are utilized in biosensors and various examines where the silver nanoparticle materials can be utilized as natural labels for quantitative discovery. Plasmonic metal nanoparticles have incredible potential for compound and natural sensor applications, because of their delicate ghastly reaction to the nearby condition of the nanoparticle surface and simplicity of observing the light flag because of their solid dissipating or ingestion. In this work, we examined the reliance of the affectability of the surface plasmon reverberation (recurrence and data transmission) reaction to changes in their encompassing condition and the general commitment of optical dissipating to the aggregate elimination, on the size and state of nanorods and the kind of metal, that is, Au versus Ag. Hypothetical thought at first glance plasmon reverberation condition uncovered that the ghostly affectability, characterized as the relative move in reverberation wavelength as for the refractive file change of encompassing materials, has two controlling factors:? first the mass plasma wavelength, a property subject to the metal kind, and second on the perspective proportion of the nanorods which is a geometrical parameter. It is discovered that the affectability is directly corresponding to both these factors78. Dim field optical microscopy to exhibit the confined surface plasmon reverberation ?max reaction of individual Ag nanoparticles to the arrangement of a monolayer of little atom adsorbates. The adsorption of less than 60?000 1-hexadecanethiol particles on single Ag nanoparticles results in a confined surface plasmon reverberation move of 40.7 nm. Also, the energy of the single nanoparticle reaction was appeared to be practically identical to that of other constant sensor technologies79. Touchy electrochemical DNA hybridization discovery examine, utilizing silver nanoparticles as the oligonucleotide naming is created. The measure depends on the hybridization of the objective DNA with the silver nanoparticle– oligonucleotide DNA test, trailed by the arrival of the silver metal molecules tied down on the mixtures by oxidative metal disintegration and the backhanded assurance of the solubilized AgI particles by anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV) at a carbon fiber ultramicroelectrode. The impact of the significant test factors, including the surface inclusion of the objective oligonucleotide, the term of the silver disintegration steps and the parameters of the electrochemical stripping estimation of the silver(I) particles, is inspected and enhanced. The mix of the surprising affectability of the stripping metal investigation at the microelectrode with the extensive number of silver(I) particles discharged from every DNA crossover permits 7etection at levels as low as 0.5 pmol L?1 of the objective oligonucleotides80. These nanoparticles are biocompatible to rodent cardiomyoblast ordinary cell line (H9C2), human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO) which demonstrates the future utilization of b-AgNPs as medication conveyance vehicle81.

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6.3. Conductive Applications: Silver nanoparticles are utilized in conductive inks and incorporated into composites to upgrade warm and electrical conductivity. Effortless union of stable silver nanoparticles having a molecule size of

6.2.3 Engine Lubrication
The primary function of the engine oil system is to reduce friction between moving parts which would otherwise generate heat if not sufficiently lubricated. Other functions include:
Cushioning effect to engine parts subject to shock-loading
Aids as an effective cooling agent (along with air cooling)
Removing heat from the cylinders
Providing a seal between the cylinder walls and pistons
Carrying away contaminants
Operation of the propeller Constant Speed Unit (C.S.U)
Viscosity describes the resistance of an oil to flow and is primarily affected by temperature. Low temperatures increase viscosity (stickiness), creating a dragging effect, hindering its ability to circulate and perform as it should. At high temperatures, viscosity decreases and the oil becomes so thin that it begins to break down, resulting in rapid wear of moving parts. Because reciprocating engines have high operating temperatures and pressures, we require high viscosity oil. Other qualities of suitable lubricating oil include:
High flash point (temperature at which flammable vapors are released)
High anti-friction characteristics
Maximum fluidity at low temperatures
Maximum anti cooling ability
Maximum resistance to oxidation
Be non-corrosive
Lubrication Systems
Reciprocating engines use either a wet-sump or a dry-sump oil system. In a wet-sump system, the oil is located in a sump that is an integral part of the engine. Whereas a dry-sump system makes use of a separate, self-contained oil tank and engine driven pumps to achieve circulation.
The main component of a wet-sump system is the gear-type oil pump, which draws oil from the sump and routes it to the engine. Located before the oil pump is the by-pass valve which allows unfiltered oil to enter the system in case of any blockage. Similarly, an oil pressure relief valve ensures pressure is neither too high as to allow leaks, nor too low so to ensure adequate lubrication. After the oil passes through the engine, it drains back into to the sump, completing the cycle. In some engines, additional lubrication is supplied by the rotating crankshaft, which splashes oil onto portions of the engine.
An oil pump also supplies oil pressure in a dry-sump system, but the source of the oil is located in a separate oil tank. After oil is routed through the engine, it is pumped from the various locations in the engine back to the oil tank by scavenge pumps. Since changes in temperature significantly affects the viscosity of our oil and therefore its effectiveness, an oil cooler which is placed in the airflow (similar to a radiator) and allows for oil temperature regulation. Dry-sump systems allow for a greater volume of oil to be supplied to the engine, as well as inverted flight, which makes them more suitable for aerobatic and turbine aircraft.
The oil pressure gauge provides a direct indication of the oil system operation. It measures the pressure in pounds per square inch (psi) of the oil supplied to the engine. There should be an indication of oil pressure during engine start. Oil pressure should be kept within the limits. Refer to the Pilots Operating Handbook (P.O.H) for manufacturer limitations.
the oil temperature gauge measures the temperature of oil. A green area shows the normal operating range, and the red line indicates the maximum allowable temperature. Unlike oil pressure, changes in oil temperature occur gradually. This is particularly noticeable after starting a cold engine, when it may take several minutes or longer for the gauge to show any increase in oil temperature.
It is important to periodically check the oil temperature during flight, especially when operating in high or low ambient air temperature:

High oil temperature indications may signal a plugged oil line, a low oil quantity, a blocked oil cooler, or a defective temperature gauge.
Low oil temperature indications may signal improper oil viscosity during cold weather operations.

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The oil filler cap and dipstick (for measuring the oil quantity) are usually accessible through a panel in the engine cowling. If the quantity does not meet the manufacturer’s recommended operating levels, oil should be added. The POH or placards near the access panel provide information about the correct oil type and weight, as well as the minimum and maximum oil quantity. Within the filler neck is an oil filter to prevent foreign particles entering the engine compartments. At the bottom of the sump is a quick drain valve to manually remove water or sludge. Checking oil quantity is part of your pre-flight checks and should be done prior to every flight.

6.5 Government proposals
The Ministry of Justice has published its much-anticipated consultation paper on reform of the grounds for divorce in England and Wales under s.1(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (Consultation document) .
This comes after ever growing pressure from campaigners, newspapers and senior judges to change the “unjust” and “outdated” laws that dictate when a couple can and can’t get divorced.
There are lots of changes that could be made to improve divorce law, but the one most archaic element which causes conflict, division and trauma is the need for blame.
The breakdown of a marriage is a difficult time for families. The decision to divorce is often a very painful one. Where children are involved, the effects where there is ongoing conflict, can be profound (Reform of legal requirements for divorce) .
Under current law in England and Wales, couples must either live apart for a substantial period of time before they may divorce, or else they must make allegations about their spouse’s conduct. This is sometimes perceived as showing that the other spouse is “at fault”.
Both routes can cause further stress and upset for the divorcing couple, to the detriment of outcomes for them and any children. There have been wide calls to reform the law to address these concerns, often framed as removing the concept of “fault”.
The government therefore proposes to reform the legal requirements for divorce so that it is consistent with the approach taken in other areas of family law, and to shift the focus from blame and recrimination to support adults better to focus on planning for their own futures and for their children’s. The reformed law should have two objectives: to make sure that the decision to divorce continues to be a considered one, and that spouses have an opportunity to change course to make sure that divorcing couples are not put through legal requirements which do not serve their or society’s interests and which can lead to conflict and accordingly poor outcomes for children
This consultation proposes adjusting what the law requires to bring a legal end to a marriage that has broken down irretrievably. This adjustment includes removing the ability to allege “fault”. This is similar to the process proposed in the Divorce Law Review Bill currently sponsored in the House of Lords by Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, former president of the Family Division.

7 Models of divorce in other Jurisdictions
Scotland: Like England and Wales, Scotland has a mixed system, under which the ground of irretrievable breakdown must be proved by facts, some fault and some no-fault and some was similar to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 until the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 amended the Divorce (Scotland) Act 1976. The facts are now adultery, behaviour, separation for one year where both parties consent, and separation for two years where they do not.
Republic of Ireland: Under the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 divorce is based on no-fault grounds, namely living apart for four years out of the last five, and no prospect of reconciliation.
Spain: Divorce in Spain is straight forward; a three-month bar after the marriage

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6 Divorce practitioners
Many family law experts and very senior judges believe divorce without blame is better way of achieving a resolution and avoiding a court imposed one. Any divorce process is often an emotional rollercoaster for those involved but in a lot of cases, couples are looking to avoid confrontation and dispute. Resolving problems outside the courts, reducing conflict and the burden on the family courts are just some of the reasons why the campaign for ‘no fault’ divorce is gaining a lot of support. Many solicitors indicate the reason for the marriage break-up is genuine and, rather than assigning blame, allow focus on important issues such as division of assets and future care of the children.
Some people find the current system archaic and unrepresentative of 21st century values. This issue is likely to be under the spotlight for some time to come. Here at Harrogate Family Law we are keen to see any changes that make it easier for families to maintain good communication and positive relationships after divorce and ending the blame culture that exists under the current system can only help us towards that goal.

6 “Family Matters” campaign in The Times
On 17 November 2017, the Times newspaper launched a campaign to reform the divorce law in England and Wales. It is not clear what precipitated this campaign, but it may well be a result of a perfect storm of high profile matrimonial finance cases in the press, a private member’s bill being read in Parliament, lobbying by The Marriage Foundation led by former High Court Judge Paul Coleridge, and the campaign already underway by Resolution (supported by the FLBA) for ‘no fault’ divorce, brought into sharp focus by the case of Owens v Owens, which is due to be heard in the Supreme Court in May 2018 (and in which five members of 1KBW are involved).
Will the Times be successful in bringing about a change to laws which are now 44 years old, and despite various calls for reform from professional bodies over the years? Maybe not, especially with a Government so preoccupied by Brexit and without a majority in the House of Commons.
In any event, the reforms sought by The Times are a slightly mixed bag. Some of the reforms called for are not controversial. For example, there is an overwhelming majority of specialist family practitioners (solicitors and barristers) who believe that ‘no fault’ divorce would be ‘a good thing’. The current law only permits a so-called ‘quickie divorce’ (although that is a myth) if there has been adultery or if the Petitioner pleads that it is not reasonable to expect her/him to live with the other spouse anymore because the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ of the other party. The only other options are to be separated for 2 years (with the consent of the other party to a divorce) or for 5 years (if the other party does not consent).
Before ‘behaviour’ petitions were permitted, parties in the early to mid-20th Century who wanted a speedy divorce would concoct a fiction. They would stage a phoney adultery, often in hotels or B;Bs, with the other spouse fully aware and approving of the ‘adultery’ that was taking place.
Latterly, coupes who both want a speedy divorce to have been forced to concoct similar fictions, with the Petitioner pleading the alleged poor behaviour of the other party, even if in fact there was no poor behaviour and the reason for the breakdown of the marriage was simply that the parties did not love each other anymore. As the law currently stands, not loving each other anymore is not a good enough reason to obtain a divorce. Instead spouses concoct behaviour petitions that are as anodyne as possible, in the hope that the court will simply rubber stamp it anyway and the other spouse will not be too offended.
This forces parties into an absurd situation: they must concoct often largely fictitious allegations about the behaviour of their spouse, and the other spouse is forced to accept the allegations – the only alternative being to defend the divorce, pointlessly and at huge cost, especially if they too also want a quick divorce.


To many family lawyers this result was unsurprising. Unfortunately, the Justices’ hands were tied. As Lady Hale remarked, “It is not for us to change the law laid down by Parliament – our role is only to interpret and apply the law that Parliament has given us.”
Indeed, as the judgment indicated, the Justices’ felt the outcome for Mrs Owens was not at all satisfactory as they dismissed her appeal. They vigorously considered section 1 (2) (b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 but, found that the law cannot be interpreted in any other way.
This means we are at the end of the road in trying to construe current law into a fair and proper application for today’s society. Clearly, our divorce law was apt for society 50 years ago but cannot be interpreted afresh to be adequate for modern relationships in modern times.
As it stands, our law requires a marriage to be irretrievably broken down and one party to be deemed ‘at fault’ before a divorce can be granted. Family lawyers regularly report having to “beef up” in divorce petitions to satisfy statutory requirements to get divorces off the ground. This simply increases the acrimony between the parties and adds to their distress and heartache.
We need reform and soon. So, what’s the next step?
It is now in the hands of Parliament to change the law and it is hoped that the Supreme Court’s decision will put enough pressure on government to do so. Historically, divorce law reform has not been a priority. In 1996 Parliament passed the Family Law Act 1996 introducing “no-fault” divorce where the specific conduct of one party would not have to be considered. The statute was never implemented however and, regrettably 22 years later, we continue to live with an archaic regime.

Pressure has been building for decades for a system of no-fault divorce. The Law Commission recommended it in 1990 and many senior judges favour it.
The reason? Many believe that when divorcing couples are being torn apart emotionally and financially, and trying to make living arrangements for their children, assigning blame to one party can only exacerbate an already stressful process.
No-fault divorce would have been introduced in a 1996 Act of Parliament requiring spouses to attend “information meetings” to encourage reconciliation, but following pilot schemes, the government decided it was unworkable.
The Ministry of Justice will seek to end the right of spouses to contest a divorce and consult on how long the parties need to wait before becoming entitled to one, suggesting a minimum of six months.
Essentially, the government is proposing a notification system where, after a defined period, if one spouse still maintains the marriage has broken down irretrievably, they become entitled to a divorce.
There will be some who fear such a system will undermine marriage, but many believe it could remove a layer of stress and anxiety from one of life’s most traumatic experiences. A reform in this area of law would afford couples the opportunity to end their marriage without the need to apportion blame, ultimately reducing conflict and hopefully encouraging parties to conduct their separation in an amicable and civil manner.

Until 1857, divorce in England was available almost exclusively by act of Parliament or by the Church of England in the ecclesiastical courts (Cretney ; Masson, 1990; Stetson, 1982). The Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 created a Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes and gave the court jurisdiction to consider and grant divorces. While the procedure changed, the substantive ground for divorce remained essentially the same: adultery (Cretney ; Masson, 1990). Interestingly, a wife could not rely solely on adultery to seek a divorce; she had to allege some other marital offense as well (Stone, 1990). Despite the change in the locus of decision making from Parliament to the courts, divorce was still very difficult to obtain for those who were not wealthy.
Adultery remained the only legally recognized basis for divorce until the Matrimonial Causes Act 1937 added as additional fault grounds the following: cruelty, desertion for a continuous period of 3 years or more, and “incurable insanity.” Within a short time after enactment of the 1937 Act, it became clear that the fault-based system was unrealistic; an increasing number of divorcing couples were simply colluding and inventing grounds for divorce to fit the statute (Cretney ; Masson, 1990; Stone, 1990). By 1951, a Royal Commission was assembled to consider a reform (Cretney ; Masson, 1990). Members could not agree on what course to take, with one group urging abandonment of fault grounds and a move toward recognizing the idea of irremediable marital breakdown and the other seeking to maintain the status quo (Stone, 1990).
Reform came about in the mid-1960s when two groups considered the divorce law and issued influential recommendations. The Archbishop’s Group, formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and including clerics and lay members of the Church of England, called for recognition of “irretrievable matrimonial breakdown” (Archbishop’s Group, 1966). The Law Commission, consisting of judges, lawyers, and legal scholars, agreed with the Archbishop’s Group that the time had arrived to allow divorce on faultless grounds (Law Commission, 1966) . The major difference between the two groups was the church group’s preference for a divorce procedure that relied upon extensive participation by judges and the secular group’s reluctance to further burden the judiciary (Glendon, 1989). The recommendations of the two groups ultimately formed the foundation for the Divorce Reform Act 1969.
The English Divorce Reform Act 1969 was a dramatic change and it proved influential in continental Europe and in the United States. With the Act, Parliament did not, however, actually abolish fault grounds for divorce. Section 1(1) of the Divorce Reform Act 1969 declares that, henceforth, the only basis for divorce would be “irretrievable breakdown.” Section 1(2), however, describes the five ways irretrievable breakdown can be proven and three are traditional fault grounds: adultery, desertion, and cruelty.
Liberal though it was, the Divorce Reform Act 1969 was cautious in important ways. Mutual consent divorce was available only after a couple had lived apart for 2 years unless the couple could show exceptional hardship; unilateral no-fault divorce required a 5-year separation unless the petitioner showed hardship or exceptional depravity by the respondent (Glendon, 1987). Even though substantial obstacles remained, many more couples in England and Wales sought divorces after the 1969 Act (Cretney & Masson, 1990). Interestingly, though, most of these divorcing couples (more than two-thirds in 1984) have continued to rely on fault grounds, perhaps because this is the easier route to obtaining a divorce (Glendon, 1989).
The Divorce Reform Act 1969 required judges to inquire into the facts of each divorce petition. However, by the mid-1970s, serious inquests were rarely held in cases of uncontested divorce and it was typical for a divorce to be merely an administrative act performed by a clerk (Cretney & Masson, 1990). Although the law provides English courts with the option of denying a divorce petition (used only by spouses who have been separated for at least 5 years) in cases where divorce would lead to “grave financial or other hardship,” divorces are seldom denied on this ground. This defence is rarely successful because the hardship must be shown to have resulted from the legal divorce itself, above and beyond any hardship resulting from the separation that has inevitably occurred before.
A 1984 amendment to the English divorce law decreased from 3 or 5 years to 1 year the required term of separation and eliminated the exception for hardship (Cretney & Masson, 1990). Thus, divorce is commonly available after only a year’s separation, and, in some fault cases, even less (Glendon, 1989).
The progression to simpler divorce in England and Wales is not without its critics, perhaps because Britain has the highest divorce rate in Western Europe (Glendon, 1989). Freeman (1991a) suggests that, due to pressure from many who believe that liberal English divorce laws are leading to a crumbling of British and Welsh family life, there will likely be a more restrictive divorce law enacted in England in the near future. The Law Commission has recommended that couples be required to wait an extra year for a “period of consideration and reflection.” This period is designed to ensure that the marriage is indeed irreparable. To aid in their deliberation, couples would be encouraged to participate in counselling and mediation services.

There is a compelling case for reform to divorce law, particularly the removal of fault from the process. The Law Commission published comprehensive criticisms of the current law in 1988, and many stakeholders in family law continue to call for no-fault divorce.
Key criticisms are that the use fault increases conflict between the parties and encourages false or exaggerated claims which do not represent the real reason for the breakdown of the marriage. The behaviour fact is particularly criticised for increasing animosity and giving a potentially false sense of why the marriage broke down.
The historical context
The nub of the matter, acknowledged by the judges in each court, is the requirement for someone who wishes to divorce to cite one of five reasons: adultery, desertion, unreasonable behaviour, two years’ separation with the consent of both parties, or five years’ separation without consent. The law does not recognise unhappiness in a marriage as a reason to seek a divorce and, as it stands, only allows a judge to grant a divorce if, on the balance of probabilities “the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent”. In turn, this can only be established by applying the objective test of what would a “hypothetical, reasonable observer make of the allegations”? In response, Mrs Owens argued that a subjective test of how her husband’s cumulative behaviour impacted on her should be applied. The Court was sufficiently sympathetic to her argument that it allowed an appeal to the Supreme Court – which found its hands similarly tied by legislation that, when put the test, was found wanting.
Cretney, S., & Mason, J.M (1990), Principles of Family law (5th.ed.) London Sweet & Maxwell
Stone, L. (1990), The road to divorce, Oxford University Press


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