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The Future of Divorce: Going Online?

How often have you heard a friend or colleague talk about bringing something ‘into the 21st Century’? This pithy phrase is of course a shorter means of expressing the apparent need to modernise, update or otherwise amend something. However, this phrase also represents a general sentiment that just about everything should be subject to change.

And it appears that the traditions of the UK court systems cannot escape this new standard.

During March, The Ministry of Justice conducted a workshop in furtherance of Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (the court system for England & Wales) online divorce project. This project proposes a £1 Billion investment in a new online court system, with the supposed aim of reducing existing annual running costs by £250 Million. The proposals include introduction of online hearings, extending court opening hours and hiring more case officers to assist judges.

With family law procedural modernisation under the spotlight, ‘Apply for a Divorce’ aims to be a simple online service targeted at the 98% of uncontested divorces in England and Wales annually. The scheme has been piloted in the East Midlands Divorce Centre, with further trials set to occur across England and Wales.

The general precedent in updating legal processes in the UK reads something like this – what works in one part of the UK is worth trying in another. With defended divorces increasingly being viewed as archaic and unnecessary (see our blog ‘FAULT-BASED DIVORCE: WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY?’), and with countless public services being adapted for online use, it seems inevitable that at least simplified divorce procedure in Scotland will be similarly adapted for online use.

If you would like to discuss obtaining a Divorce, please feel free to contact McCarthy Law on 0141 337 6678, or via e-mail: