We’ve been waiting for some time to discover what exactly happened at a hearing before Sir James Munby in April of this year when he hailed what he saw as a “conspiracy to pervert the course of justice on an almost industrial scale”. And now the wait is over.
It seems that Italians had been using a loophole in UK family law process to apply for divorce, using a post box in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The scam involved couples in Italy wanting to avoid having to wait the allotted time for a divorce in their native country (the UK time period is shorter). The scheme cost £120 an hour, payable to various agents, who would then forge legal papers to process the dissolution. The couples would then sign blank forms, which were completed and sent to British courts, claiming that they had been living apart for two years.
How in the world did the postbox feature? Well, it was being used as a home address. The diminutive house caught the attention of a county court clerk in Burney who noticed two separate applications with the same address on them.
So, no fraught men and women fleeing war torn countries or children in need of refuge (our initial concern when we first heard about the case). We’re just glad the story was this light hearted.