There is likely to be less than 20 divorce centres processing undefended divorces by December 2015. The question remains: will centralisation work to achieve its objectives?

Significant reduction in Divorce Courts

The Law Society’s Gazette News desk reported last week that 45 divorce courts in London are transferring work to Bury St Edmunds, which is where all divorce and financial remedy applications for London and the South East will start. This is happening on a phased basis and so far 29 of 45 divorce courts have completed the transfer.

Fraud & Efficiency

Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) hopes this change will improve the service but also reduce the possibility of fraud as this transitions was sparked by 180 Italian applications being set aside as they had been issued in Italy in 137 different county courts.

At the moment it is reported that some 600 divorce petitions have caused a backlog in Brighton and Guildford going back 3 months and HMCTS has quoted 40% of all petitions are returned due to errors in drafting.

Legal Advisors to deal with Decree Nisi

Bury St Edmunds is expected to handle 40% of all divorce work in England and Wales and in order to speed up the process and free up district judges, the legal advisors will now process decree nisi. However, whether this will combat fraud and improve efficiency in processing petitions is yet to be seen.

Will Centralisation Work?

It remains unclear as to how one single court for London and South East region will be able to deal with the increased volume of work. The initiative would be self-defeating if it increased backlogs and delays, but this remains to be seen. Cases that require a hearing nevertheless will be transferred locally.

Divorce Solicitors London

Merchiston’s expert divorce lawyers are at hand to advise you on divorce and financial orders. Call 0203 540 6340 to speak to one of our expert divorce solicitors. Alternatively, email us on or complete our online enquiry form.