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Form E has been trending, everyone’s talking about it…those are words I never thought I would hear myself say! The Ministry of Justice website which offers a range of court forms to download and use online, had an error in the Form E liabilities section, rendering calculations done on the website incorrect and meaning financial totals didn’t take into account the party’s debts.
The implications of this are clear – financial settlements arising from information submitted on these online versions of the Form E will be based on inaccurate figures and so may well be significantly incorrect. Whist we might like to ignore our debts – the Form E is not the place to do it.
As our sample Form E (contained on our DIY Divorce page) demonstrates; the figure at Section D of Question 2.20 on the form should be deducted from the total, however this was where the automatic calculation was going wrong. The amount of debt was ignored rather than subtracted, inflating the final picture of the party’s finances.
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It is yet to be seen how many settlements will be affected by the error but the MoJ has published an email address formE@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk which people can use to contact them if they are concerned they may have submitted an incorrect form. The error seemed to arise following changes made to the form in April 2014 which coincided with the wealth of reforms to the family court.
There is no additional information on the MoJ website save for a short statement and their social media account has remained silent on the topic, but it is safe to say they may now be having a busier festive period than anticipated.
For regular information and news our DIY divorce page has useful guidance, links and sample forms. We also have a range of family forms including Form E within AutoDocs in PracticePlus; our integrated online resource which brings together practice notes, flow charts, links to key commentary, legislation, forms and precedents.
The forms within AutoDocs have been developed by our PSL and technical teams and are compiled using specialist software. They are not affected by the errors contained in the MoJ systems. For any queries or a free 14 day trial of PracticePlus please contact our account management team on +44 (0)117 918 1555.