Skip to content


Solicitors at an elite family law firm made a computer error that resulted in the wrong couple being divorced — and a senior judge has refused to overturn the mistake.


13 thoughts on “Ooops!”

  1. Oh noes!

    So the newly unmarried couple just have to pop down the registry office and get remarried. Doesn’t require a big ceremony or anything. Just a couple of trips and a two week waiting period. A couple of witnesses.

    Jobs a good un.

    Law firm bungs them a few grand as a sorry for the inconvenience.

    Not a major problem for them. Though it does raise questions about how people can get unmarried without knowing about it that the law firm and courts need to answer.

  2. @Boganboy
    No. Them as well. It’ll be the very small print somewhere “We can accept no responsibility…..” Lawyers.

  3. Two of the fabled crocodiles, live in the city sewers, are watching what’s going on in the street through a kerbside grating. One a massive muscular beast, the other thin & scrawny. The small one looks at the larger & asks. “Why are you so much bigger than me? We were hatched together in the same nest”
    The larger one responds “What are you feeding on?”
    “Same as you. Lawyers. I hang out down by the law courts. There’s hundreds down there. I see one walking past, I lunge out & grab him. Shake the shit out of him & scoff him down.”
    “Ah” says the larger one. “I think I see your problem. Shake the shit out of a lawyer & all that’s left that’s useful is the shoes & the briefcase”

  4.  ” . . . . made a computer error . . . .”

    Er – No. ” . . made a human error while using a computer . . . ” is probably more like it.

    And it can’t be as simple as popping down to the registry office and getting remarried. Lots of things are conditioned on the married status – mortgages, tax witholdings, pension benefits, etc, etc ,etc, and while the original error was no doubt an error, all these other computer systems will take it as real and act accordingly. I suspect it will take this poor couple 5 years or more to straighten it all out.



  5. “elite … law firm”

    Yeah, there’s yer problem. Two golden rules I learned from my dad: never trust a lawyer with a tidy desk, and never trust a firm with more than four partners. Lawyers are like plumbers or motor mechanics: if you need one, first ask around friends and family for a recommendation, and failing that, go to the small local firm.

    “Law firm bungs them a few grand as a sorry for the inconvenience. Not a major problem for them.”

    Exactly. But it’d be a much bigger problem for Joe Bloggs LLB, on the High Street. So he’ll be more careful.

  6. She continued: “This is a bad decision. The state should not be divorcing people on the basis of a clerical error. 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.

    We’ve heard from the court staff that this happens a fair bit with the new online system.”

    Doesn’t smell right… Neither the “happens a fair bit” nor the “can’t undo an error even where no authority whatsoever was given by the couple involved”. Could some rogue lawyer just go ahead and divorce Harry & Megs (or anybody for that matter) and then err scarper..!?

  7. because the principle of intention underpins the justice of our legal system.
    Where’d she read that? In a very old law treatise written with a quill on a roll of parchment?

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    So now all someone needs to do is move all the assets in to his/her name and the liabilities into joint or even partners name and then find someone to bribe to “make a mistake” and hey presto, clean divorce with no settlement.

    Somehow I think the authorities will find a way to reverse the divorce if something like this happened even if they don’t discover the bribe.

  9. We have come to the tail wagging the dog with computer systems, I suspect what they really mean is that there is no way to reverse or remove the record from the computer system, well covered by Little Britain and the “Computer says no” sketches

  10. Some of my best friends

    The DT has been typically vague about the details. What actually happened is that the wife filed for divorce in January last year and a conditional order was made in August. In October, her solicitors mistakenly applied for a final order, which was granted automatically. They then applied in writing to have the final order rescinded because of their error, and a judge agreed to do that.

    In the hearing reported, the husband’s lawyer was asking for the rescindment to be set aside, so that the final order would stand. This is what the judge upheld, first on the grounds that the husband had not been properly informed of the application for rescindment, and second because it ought not to have been granted anyway.

    The judge remarked in his ruling that “The issue has come before the court against the background of ongoing contested financial remedy proceedings”. I suppose that the reason the wife doesn’t want the final order is not that she desires to remain married but that she wants to be a wealthier divorcee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *