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I was very honoured when I was asked to take over as Consulting Editor of the Butterworths Family Law Service approximately a year ago. I was delighted to be able to accept and have very much enjoyed working with the Editorial Board – those who do the very hard work of keeping this important work thoroughly up to date.
There has, of course, been considerable sadness during the year. First, we lost our Founding General Editor, Professor Peter Bromley, who died aged 90 after some months of illness. Peter was unique in that he almost single-handedly created the academic study of Family Law, through his text book, the first Edition of which was published by Butterworths in 1957. He conceived and developed the Butterworths Family Law Service as a looseleaf publication, identifying the needs of the profession for a comprehensive, authoritative, accessible and up-to-date text for every day reference by its subscribers. Although he recruited a team of first rate authors to complete the project, he reviewed, commented on and corrected the whole text personally. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject. He chaired the Editorial Board from 1983 to 1996, securing its place as the standard work of its kind. He was of course Head of the Law School at Manchester University and generations of family lawyers have been inspired by his work as a teacher and writer.
Second, we lost my predecessor as Consulting Editor, Sir Christopher Sumner, who died aged 73 in August. He was Consulting Editor from 2007 to 2012. He brought to the post great wisdom and experience following a distinguished career at the Bar and on the Bench. He was steeped in family law. I remember appearing in front of his father, His Honour Judge Donald Sumner QC in my early years at the Bar. I then appeared regularly in front of Christopher, first in Wandsworth when he too was a Circuit Judge and then in the Royal Courts of Justice when he was quite rightly promoted to the High Court Bench. He was mortified that, on my first appearance before him, he misread my name on the Adv
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