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Couples will be able to complete the divorce application process online as part of a £1bn plan to reform the justice system.
The Ministry of Justice has announced that an online divorce pilot is now being tested at three sites in the UK, and is due to be extended to other centres in the coming months, with the ultimate plan to roll it out nationally.
The scheme enables couples to apply for an uncontested divorce digitally via smart forms, removing the need to fill in paper forms and send them to court manually.
A spokeswoman for HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said:
‘We have a world-leading legal system and are investing over £1bn to reform and enhance our courts to deliver swifter justice.
We have launched the first divorce application services online at three sites and will be extending the testing over the coming months. These measures will simplify the process for divorce applicants and help progress applications quickly.’
Collaborative lawyer and family law arbitrator, Tony Roe, who has assisted the HMCTS with the scheme, says:
‘HMCTS now has the online pilot running in Stoke (West Midlands) and Southampton (South West Region), as well as the original location, Nottingham (East Midlands). Additional features such as online pay and online submission are at a very advanced stage. Once introduced next year HMCTS will consider when is the right time to extend the service nationally.
HMCTS aims to start testing a live system with solicitors in the coming months, having run various sessions with lawyers in their firms, which I was happy to help with.’