Examination of Witnesses

Part of Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:28 am on 2nd July 2019.

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David Hodson:

For that, you get a few minutes—I will not say moments—of judicial time, and there is perhaps some scrutiny of the procedure. We hope to go to a no-fault divorce process, mostly online, with almost no or no judicial involvement, because there will not have to be any.

The £550 is very unfair on the poor—for those on welfare benefits, there is an allowance, but it is very unfair on those above that. The great worry has to be that we have a lot of limping marriages in our society between people who just cannot afford that. There are no financial claims—there is no money to make any financial claims—but they just cannot afford to bring the divorce forward.

The Law Society—Resolution would probably agree—would like to make a plea: can the Ministry of Justice review the fees? Again, that is for a secondary instrument. We have some of the highest in the world, probably second or third highest, and they are much too high. Particularly with the new process that will be going through, there is not that cost to society or to the Ministry of Justice of running it, so can we make the plea to reduce the fee of £550, so we do not have marriages out there that came to an end a long time ago?