At this time of year it's customary to look back at events which dominated headlines in the past 12 months. In terms of legal developments, for me, the most significant cases in 2018 came in family law in the Supreme Court.

On 27 June, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, determining the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples, was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, since it discriminated against mixed-sex couples. 

This judgement increased the pressure on the Government to legislate, and on 2 October the Government duly complied as Theresa May announced that all couples in England and Wales will be given the option of choosing between a civil partnership and marriage. 

Later in the summer on 25 July, a second Supreme Court ruling caused further shock waves as Tini Owens, who wanted to divorce her husband and end her unhappy marriage, lost her Supreme Court appeal. Her husband of 40 years had contested the divorce hearing successfully, and the Supreme Court unanimously rejected Mrs Owens' appeal. The case built momentum in the long-running campaigns for the introduction of a "no-fault" system of divorce, which calls for the removal of the current obligation to assign blame in order to divorce. 

The media, legal and public outcry this case generated undoubtedly spurred the Government's hand in prompting in September the launch of a consultation on reform of the legal requirements for divorce. This closed on 10 December 2018 and many will be eagerly awaiting the Government's response in 2019. 

Finally, nearly 100 years since a law was passed in 1920 to allow women to practice as barristers, 2018 saw a female majority hear a case in the UK's highest court for the first time in 600 years. In October, the Supreme Court sat with three female judges in a panel of five, in Lady Hale, Lady Black, and Lady Arden. Although women continue to be, in Lady Hales' words, "seriously underrepresented" among senior judges, it was an encouraging note to strike at the end of the year.