Radical new reforms set to simplify and speed up divorce proceedings

Digital court applications for divorce have helped reduce errors in applications from 40 to less than one per cent, new figures have revealed.

The news comes after the Government announced new legislation set to make it “even easier for court users to apply for small money claims or divorce online”.

The announcement forms part of the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill, a major £1 billion reform programme aimed at developing new, simplified rules around online services in civil, family and tribunal proceedings.

The online divorce pilot, which was launched in May 2018, has already been used to file 35,000 applications for divorce, significantly lowering the error rate and reducing the average time it takes to complete a divorce.

Likewise, the online civil money claims digital service reduced the time it took to submit and process an application from 15 days to just 10 minutes.

Commenting on the announcement, Ministry of Justice Spokesperson in the Lords, Lord Keen, said: “From appealing their tax bill online to applying for divorce, every single day people up and down the country are already taking advantage of our ambitious court reforms.

“This Bill will improve access to justice for all by providing clear and understandable rules to guide people through the many new digital processes we are introducing.”

The news comes at the same time as the Government is preparing to roll out radical new divorce reforms. Under the proposed new legislation, couples will no longer be required to allocate blame or fault in order to separate.

Announcing the move in April, Lord Chancellor David Gauke said: “Hostility and conflict between parents leave their mark on children and can damage their life chances.

“While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples. So I have listened to calls for reform and firmly believe now is the right time to end this unnecessary blame game for good.”

He added that the changes will be introduced “as soon parliamentary time allows”.

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