And finally… computer says no

And finally... computer says no

The wrong couple were divorced after solicitors made a computer error.

“Mr and Mrs Williams” were married for 21 years until separating in 2023. But they had not yet sought a divorce.

The English High Court has said, however, that the inadvertent divorce cannot be overturned.

Solicitors at Vardags, headed by Ayesha Vardag, the “diva of divorce”, used an online portal to wrongly apply for a final order for the couple, who at the time were still trying to agree financial arrangements.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division, said lawyers had meant to apply for the divorce of a different client “but inadvertently opened the electronic case file in ‘Williams v Williams’ and proceeded to apply for a final order in that case”.

The solicitors used the portal “without the instruction or authority of their client” and the order was granted within 21 minutes.

Sir Andrew rejected the application to rescind the divorce order.

He said: “There is a strong public policy interest in respecting the certainty and finality that flows from a final divorce order and maintaining the status quo that it has established.”

Vardag said that the judge had reached a “bad decision” and that he had “decided, effectively, ‘the computer says no, you’re divorced’”.

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