FAULTY COURT CALCULATOR MAY HAVE CAUSED ERROS IN THOUSANDS OF DIVORCE SETTLEMENTS – UPDATE
According to the Law Society Gazette the outcome of more than 2,200 financial settlements on divorce may have been voided by the Form E software fault.
Justice Minister Shaillesh Vara MP has indicated in a statement to Parliament that the assets of more than 3,600 couples were miscalculated. Those involved in the over 2,200 closed cases affected are to be written to by HMCTS, (the court service) and may need to re-apply to court to re-open or re-negotiate settlements (although the error may not have impacted upon the outcome in all of these cases).
No court fee will be charged for applications to set aside or vary orders. Those involved in the 1,400 or so ongoing cases will have the issue flagged to them by HMCTS in order to avoid the error affecting their final orders.
A new version of the Form E is being uploaded, but with the automatic calculator being disabled whilst the future of the form is considered as part of broader court reforms. Many family lawyers and mediators do not rely on the Form E automatic calculator in any event. They use their own assets schedules setting the figures out clearly and simply, often using Excel. Such cases will be unaffected by the problem. At Focus Mediation whilst we use Form E to collect information and documents, we have never used its calculator, our mediators always prepare our own.