More than 100 file for divorce online in first week of trial service

Courts service extends trial of digital divorce offering

A fully online process for applying for a divorce is being trialled by HM Courts and Tribunal Service.

The pilot scheme offers would-be divorcees “prompts and guidance to assist them in completing their application”. When the programme was first trialled last year, applicants were still required to print off their forms and send a physical document to the relevant court. 

As of about a week ago, the process has been fully digitised – meaning UK citizens can now apply for a divorce with nothing more than keystrokes and clicks. During its first week in operation, 130 applications were filed online.

When compared with the previous paper system, making the process wholly digital has reduced by 90% the number of forms that need to be returned because of submission errors, according to HMCTS. 

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The next stage of rolling out digital divorces will involve making the online systems accessible to lawyers.

HMCTS chief executive Susan Acland-Hood said: “We are investing over £1 billion to reform and modernise the justice system. These measures are drastically cutting the number of applications returned because of errors – streamlining the process and ensuring we are best supporting people going through a difficult and often painful time.”

Other measures that have already been implemented as part of the HMCTS digitisation programme include the introduction of digital sentencing procedures for fare-dodgers in London, and a service permitting citizens file online tax appeals.


Sam Trendall

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