Spotlight
Family Court Practice, The
Order the 2021 edition due out in May
Court of Protection Practice 2021
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Spotlight
Latest articles
The Legal Rights and Wrongs of Puberty Blocking in England
Hannah Hirst, PhD student, University of Liverpool, School of Law and Social JusticeKeywords: Puberty blockers – children’s rights – access to health – UNCRC –...
Re M (Special Guardianship Order: Leave To Apply To Discharge) [2021] EWCA Civ 442
(Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Peter Jackson, Baker, Elisabeth Laing LJJ, 26 March 2021)Public Law Children – Special guardianship – Leave to apply to discharge SGO – Refusal...
AB v CD & Ors [2021] EWHC 741 (Fam)
(Family Division, Lieven J, 26 March 2021)Medical treatment - Gender Dysphoria – Consent – Young person prescribed puberty blockers – Decision in Bell – Whether parents could...
Re H-N And Others (Children) (Domestic Abuse: Finding of Fact Hearings) [2021] EWCA Civ 448
(Court of Appeal (Civil Division), President, King, Holroyde LJJ, 30 March 2021)Private law children - Domestic Abuse – Fact finding – ApproachThe Court of Appeal provided guidance in four...
Unequal chances? Ethnic disproportionality in child welfare and family justice
Many have experienced their own Black Lives Matter moment in the last 12 months, a sharp realisation of entrenched prejudices and inequalities that still exist in our society.In the family justice...
View all articles
Authors

Online reform: digital divorce workshop

Sep 29, 2018, 19:46 PM
family law, online divorce, digital divorce, online reforms, tony roe, practice direction 36d, pd36d, online submissions, hmcts, easy midlands divorce centre, pilot
At the beginning of this month (March), I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for a workshop explaining more about the online divorce project from the Court Service (HMCTS).
Slug : online-reform-digital-divorce-workshop
Meta Title : Online reform: digital divorce workshop
Meta Keywords : family law, online divorce, digital divorce, online reforms, tony roe, practice direction 36d, pd36d, online submissions, hmcts, easy midlands divorce centre, pilot
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : Yes
Prioritise In Trending Articles : Yes
Date : Mar 7, 2017, 04:42 AM
Article ID : 113926

At the beginning of this month (March), I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for a workshop explaining more about the online divorce project from the Court Service (HMCTS). I joined representatives from the Law Society, Resolution and the Bar.

We were introduced to the project by a preview of a video about the proposed online reform, part of a £1bn investment which will supposedly deliver savings of £250m in annual running costs. The video covering various area of law, mentions that, in the future we may see video hearings. The government is exploring extending court opening hours. More case officers for judges are to be employed. However the video made no mention of how the shortage of judges might be tackled.

Head of Family Modernisation and Improvement, Adam Lennon, led the session. It seems that family modernisation is leading the way, being one of a small number of similar digital projects involving, for example, probate and tribunals. The government’s ‘agile methodology’ approach to projects means that new processes are built bit by bit, starting with the petition in this case.

‘Apply for a Divorce’ is ultimately intended to be a simple online service for the 98% of divorces that are uncontested and will ‘vastly improve the experience’.

No changes are to be made to primary legislation underlying these processes. A new Practice Direction, 36D, appeared on 25 January, enabling the pilot scheme in the East Midlands Divorce Centre. This will soon be followed by others. The next, for example, will cover online submission.

The divorce project is taking a bit of time, we were told, because it is modular and is blazing the way for other processes. HMCTS continues to be rather careful about what it says about timescales.

The pilot scheme began on 25 January at the East Midlands Divorce Centre. It has simply focussed on litigants in person there, using the online system at the court with full support and supervision from staff working on the project. It is stressed that what is being used there is not the final product. PD36D makes it clear what is involved currently. Once completed online, the pilot petitioner, or applicant, needs ‘to print off the generated application’ for issue.  Apparently, all those who have used the pilot so far liked it.

The next step of the pilot will remain by invitation only to litigants in person but will be run in their own homes without supervision. Public release will then follow and this stage will be ‘usable’ by solicitors, although presumably still within the pilot.

Litigants in person in the East Midlands project, supervised by specialist staff at the divorce centre are taking 10 to 20 minutes to complete the petition we were told.

Once produced, the petition looks rather different from what we are used to. There are no separate notes as these are incorporated. As such it currently runs to 16 pages.

The workshop enabled a very useful open exchange between MoJ staff and practitioners. Bringing divorce online will take time. Quite how long is not clear. In the meantime, we will see new PDs introduced which will herald developments within the pilot. 

A more in-depth piece by Tony Roe will appear in the April issue of Family Law.

For details on how you can subscribe to Family Law or any other titles, please contact the LexisNexis customer services team: Tel 0330 161 1234, or email: customerservices@lesisnexis.co.uk
Categories :
  • Articles
Tags :
Computer_mouse
Authors
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Load more comments
Comment by from