Clerical error causes premature divorce

A law firm clerk accidentally selected the wrong file from a dropdown menu on an online portal, resulting in the irrevocable divorce of the wrong couple.

The couple intended to divorce, but we were still arranging financial agreements for their separation when a clerk accidentally selected them for a final divorce order on an online portal, which saw them legally divorced in just 21 minutes.

The law firm realized the mistake two days after it had occurred, but when it asked a high court to rescind the final divorce order, the request was denied.

The firm insisted that its employee had accidentally selected the couple’s file with a simple click, but the judge explained that, in reality, one had to go through multiple screens on the portal to be granted a final order.

Ayesha Vardag, the UK’s self-styled “diva of divorce”, described the judge’s decision as ‘bad’, arguing that it allowed a computer to say ‘no, you’re divorced’.

“The state should not be divorcing people on the basis of a clerical error,” Vardag added.

“There has to be intention on the part of the person divorcing, because the principle of intention underpins the justice of our legal system.

“When a mistake is brought to a court’s attention, and everyone accepts that a mistake has been made, it obviously has to be undone …

“That means that, for now, our law says that you can be divorced by an error made on an online system. And that’s just not right, not sensible, not justice.” Read more

Additional reading

News category: Great reads, Odd Spot.

Tags: ,