Form E Problem for the Ministry of Justice
Over the weekend the papers reported that the Ministry of Justice admitted that there was a fault with Form Es completed via its website. Form E is used during financial proceedings to disclose the parties’ financial positions. This enables the parties to (in theory) negotiate a settlement.
Form E automatically calculates certain assets by adding and subtracting various values, such as subtracting any outstanding mortgage and associated sales costs from the market value of the former matrimonial home.
For some time it appears that this function was not working properly and many parties’ financial positions were being calculated incorrectly. It was Nicola Matheson-Durrant, a McKenzie Friend with the Family Law Clinic in Berkshire, who spotted the error. She told The Guardian: "Having discovered the fault and advised the MoJ, it became apparent that not a single solicitor, barrister or judge in the whole of the UK had noticed this error. It is such a critical fault."
The Ministry of Justice has responded issuing an advisory note as follows:
"An error has been identified in the automatic calculations used in the version of the Form E (Financial Statement) available on the HMCTS Form Finder website. Form E is the means by which parties disclose information about their assets and liabilities. The current online version has been corrected.
Fortunately, Nockolds Solicitors use a different program to complete Form E and can confirm that this program was not affected by the error.