The Ministry of Justice Form E Fiasco
by Lindsay Halliwell, 18 December 2016
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have revealed this week that a software error in the Form E published on the justice.gov.uk website might lead a number of couples to question whether their financial settlement was incorrect or unfair.
Ministry of Justice Form E Errors
The glitch appears to affect paragraph 2.20, of the Form E, the document used by separated couples undertaking financial disclosure within the context of divorce proceedings, which is a summary of assets and liabilities. It appears that the glitch has resulted in the summary failing to reduce the overall asset base by the debts. If the overall settlement was solely based on the figures recorded in the summary some couples might feel that the agreement and subsequent binding order is compromised.
This will apply only to those who used the form’s automatic data field calculations and not those who used Forms E from alternative sources or hand wrote their disclosure. Many solicitors have their own specialist forms package and will not be affected by this error.
How will this affect my family law case?
For those who think they might have been affected you might wish to take a moment to double check the figures on the Form E and the figures on the statement of information for a consent order, the brief financial disclosure form filed with the court when sending the draft consent order to the court for consideration and approval.
It is unlikely that the two forms would have the same technical software error and as long as the data transposed from the form E to the statement of information was from the individual calculations and not in reliance upon the financial summary at 2.20 the figure work should reflect reality.
The MoJ have launched an urgent investigation and will contact those who might be affected by this error.
If you would like to discuss this issue in more detail or would like to consider your legal options with our family solicitors in Bournemouth please contact Lindsay Halliwell on 01202 294566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.