THE AGENDA Letters Dear Spear’s... Readers have their say on divorce, art market disruption and private education in the modern world

Splitting headaches SIR – As last issue’s cover story explores, the past few years have seen revolutionary changes in divorce. The comment we hear from clients is that they don’t want to have to go through their separation in the ‘traditional’ way (read that as through the courts). They know what they don’t want – the antagonism, bitterness, stress and expense of a court battle when their relationship is fi nished. There are many

developed separation model, Uncouple, which leads to a better separation. Claire Blakemore, Withers


reasons why separation through court is to be avoided. The family court system is stretched, and cases can be delayed and held in a chaotic environment. Court disputes are likely to open up extremely diffi cult information to public scrutiny. The costs can be substantial, sometimes eating up the sums being fought over. For many, the fundamental problem lies with the process itself. Hopefully, in April 2022, we will see the introduction of much anticipated ‘no fault’ divorces. But the current system remains deeply divisive. By instructing two opposed legal teams, a couple cannot help but see their interests pulled further apart as lawyers fi ght on their client’s behalf, and against the other side. For many modern couples, especially those with children – who will need to continue to cooperate for years to come – this is not the outcome they want. They are looking for a clean, considered and fair break. Thankfully, for some years, separating couples have been able to pick from a growing number of alternative paths. One such is example is our fi rm’s newly


Why divorce is still a battle And the new weapons top lawyers use to win

SIR – Your article ‘To the victor, the spoils’ (Q3, 2021) clearly sets out why it can be particularly diffi cult in UHNW cases to avoid frenzied litigation. UHNWs fi ghting over, say, jurisdiction can be essential where substantial sums are at stake. But our discretionary system gives rise to many disputes, even in the most modest of cases where a variation in the outcome can be even more critical than where there are large sums involved. Surely the HNWs (if not the UHNWs) could, with appropriate guidance, avoid expensive disputes by using the varied ADR resources available. Collaborative law is

Plus particularly appropriate to

HNWs and UHNWs. It may be necessary to fi x jurisdiction or take other steps at the outset, but any proceedings are then adjourned while collaborative negotiations take place. It is relatively easy to achieve a good outcome for both parties discreetly, cost-effectively and with a much better emotional and parenting outcome. If the collaborative route falters, there are many alternatives to bring the process back on track: early neutral evaluation, joint instruction of counsel on specifi c points, and the use of arbitration now that the uncertainty about appeals has been removed. Look for the divorcee who continues to go on holidays with his or her ex-spouse and the children, and there you will fi nd the collaborative law client! Pamela Collis Consultant, Family Law in Partnership

Art’s big shake-up SIR – Congratulations on a great article about the rise of NFTs in the art market (Q3, 2021). You can well imagine how amazed the traditional Contemporary art world was at the outcome of the record-breaking Christie’s NFT auction – and the NFT epigones eager to get a piece of the pie. But how, why does this work? How is it possible to undermine all criteria of time-honoured art appreciation, practically overnight and essentially with unchecked momentum? Has the prevailing art market been too focused on itself? Has it failed to perceive the needs of a new digital generation? Even if, currently, the whole thing looks like a counter-movement, I hope it will prove to be a long overdue wake-up call for the art world. I’m speaking not only for the artists but for the entire art industry, which, with few exceptions, is still paralysed and laughing it off to keep the inexorable challenge at bay for a little while longer. Roland Faesser, artist

Class actions SIR – Reading Spear’s recent, wide- ranging Education Briefi ng (Q3, 2021), it was positive to see providers taking a stand against the irresponsible practice of ‘over-tutoring’ pupils. This was one of the founding principles of the Tutors’ Association, the professional body for tutors in the United Kingdom (the formation of which I was closely involved in), and remains the fi rst standard of the Tutors’ Association code of practice. What is paramount, however, is instilling a love of learning and a rich base of core knowledge. One further point of note: when weighing the relative strengths of the independent school system, class size has little bearing on learning outcomes (except in the case of very small groups or individual tuition), with evidence consistently demonstrating that excellent teachers are the most signifi cant contributory factor to pupils’ success. Matthew Goldie-Scot Managing director, Thuso

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