The Ministry of Justice has launched an urgent investigation after a software glitch has been discovered on a standard document used by divorcing couples to assess the extent of their assets and liabilities. The form is known as “Form E” - a Financial Statement setting out a comprehensive summary of the parties’ assets, liabilities, incomes, outgoings and pensions and is used in the majority of cases involving the division of a couple’s finances on divorce.
The error, which appears when the form is downloaded from the Court website, is in section 2.20 of the form which provides a summary of the figures provided in the previous sections of the form as follows;
Instead of liabilities appearing as a negative figure to be subtracted from the overall assets, liabilities were in fact added to the overall assets, creating an incorrect picture of the assets. It is understood that the error has been present on the form since April 2014.
Many solicitors do not download Court forms such as the Form E from the Court website and instead use external providers of these forms where the error may not have been replicated. Cases involving Taylor Walton’s clients should not be affected. The impact is likely to be mostly limited to those who have dealt with their own divorce without legal representation and who have downloaded and used the form from the Court website.
Anyone who feels this error may have influenced their settlement has been encouraged to contact; formE@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk for more information.