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Apply for a divorce: Online service goes public

Research continuing on solicitors' application service

The President of the Family Division Sir James Munby and the Chief Executive of Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service Susan Acland-Hood have written to judges and staff today with details of the new online divorce application process which has now been made available to the public.

They say:

"As part of our £1bn reform programme to modernise the courts and tribunals service, we have been developing a simplified and intuitive online application process for divorce, which can be used by anyone without legal representation wishing to apply for a divorce across England and Wales, making the process easier to understand for separating couples."

Tony Roe, founder of Tony Roe Solicitors, commented:

"It is important to realise that the HMCTS announcement relates to the online process for the public, acting as litigants in person. The solicitors' application for divorce is still awaited.

"To date research has been conducted with 42 legal professionals from 24 different firms. Following this research, HMCTS had significant interest from firms volunteering to be involved in its private beta testing stage.

"As a project it will start to test the solicitor application with a limited number of firms initially, representing a cross section of legal firms to ensure testing is robust. An update is promised by the summer."

Henry Hood, head of the family law team at Hunters, noted:

"The savings made by the public service are remarkable and presumably achieved by having an entirely administrative process operated by Court staff with no judicial involvement whatever. This is however at odds with having a divorce process that, in relation to behaviour petitions, requires that judicial involvement.

"Perhaps this, more than any other argument, will persuade the Government to support the campaign to introduce no fault divorce, on which it has so far sat on the fence."

For the joint letter, click here. For an online service factsheet, click here.

8/5/18