Bury St Edmunds on track to handle 40,000 divorce petitions a year from London and south east

Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

The County Court is already handling half of region’s applications from Brighton to Norwich.

The St Andrews St North based court in Bury St Edmunds is due to take 40% of all divorce applications in England by October.

The process will create a London and South East Divorce Centre, bringing with it 63 new jobs.

Services at 28 of the 45 existing divorce courts in the region have been transferred to Bury already, with London courts expected to be transferred by the end of July.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has already been warning solicitors of the dangers of incorrectly filled in applications.

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As it stands, around 40% of applications have to be returned due to errors, something that will cause delays and backlogs when the centre is completely operational and attempting to process an estimated 40,000 applications a year.

A HMCTS spokeswoman said: “Work is being transferred from the 45 divorce courts in London and the south east to the divorce centre on a phased basis.

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“By October 2015 all undefended divorce work, with the exception of urgent matters will be processed through the divorce centre.

“Communications are being issued to solicitors broadly two-weeks prior to work transferring. We currently anticipate that the divorce centre will start to process work from the London courts from July.

“Our aim is for all work to be processed on the day of receipt or within 48 hours at the latest. This is a challenging ideal but is achievable once the centre is fully staffed and operational.

“The divorce centre will be the single point of entry for all divorce and financial remedy applications. When a hearing is required, in either a divorce case or a financial remedy case, these will continue to take place at local hearing venues across the region – at the most suitable location for the parties involved.

“There are no legal or other changes which affect the ability to issue urgent petitions. All family court venues that have district judges on site will continue to accept urgent petitions and applications.”

So far divorce services across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey and Sussex have been transferred to the centre in Bury.

Solicitors in the town previously raised concerns about a potential backlog, describing the decision to choose Bury as “bizarre”.

The move is part of the Government’s plan to centralise divorce applications across the country by December this year, creating 11 regional divorce centres and making savings in the process.

Bury is already host to the regional centre for the Employment Tribunals Service on Southgate Street.

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