Computers should handle divorces instead of solicitors who make “slapdash” errors, former Family Court president says

Quoted from The Telegraph-

‘Computers should handle divorces rather than solicitors, the former Family Court president has warned, after accusing regional centres of being “slapdash”.

Sir James Munby, formerly the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, said that he looks forward to the “entire process of divorce” being made digital. 

An online divorce system was rolled out to the general public in May 2018 when Sir James was the president. However Sir James has since made clear that “the entire process” needs digitising. 

Currently, couples wishing to divorce can begin the process online and continue all the way to decree nisi, but not to decree absolute. However, most solicitors acting on behalf of clients begin the process in paper form. 

After analysing a number of cases involving “defective” divorces at a family court hearing in London earlier this month, Sir James aired his thoughts on the benefits of fully digital divorces. 

awyers had told him how people had made mistakes, including basic spelling errors, which had not been spotted by staff or judges at regional divorce centres, when filing in divorce paperwork. 

Sir James said some of the cases he had analysed featured a “slapdash approach” by either a judge or member of staff and suggested that the underlying problem was that people were “under pressure” and more “prone to error”. 

As a result, he has had to make orders allowing these divorces to proceed. “It is, unhappily, notorious that some regional divorce units have become bywords for delay and inefficiency, essentially because HMCTS [HM Courts & Tribunals Service] has been unable or unwilling to furnish them with adequate numbers of staff and judges,” said Sir James, who retired as president of the Family Division of the High Court last year. 

“The sooner the entire process of divorce is made digital from beginning to end the better.” ‘ …

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