Law Firm Run by 'Diva of Divorce' Split Up Wrong Couple

And a British judge won't remedy the clerical error
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2024 10:20 AM CDT
Law Firm Run by 'Diva of Divorce' Split Up Wrong Couple
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Rawf8)

Britain's "Diva of Divorce," Ayesha Vardag, may need a nickname change after a recent debacle by her law firm. Vardags bills itself as the "top divorce lawyers in London," but staffers there mistakenly sealed the fate on an estranged couple's marriage, apparently before they were ready to pull the final plug.

  • The couple in question: Referred to only as Mr. and Mrs. Williams in court documents, the pair were wed for more than two decades when they separated last year, per the Guardian. The two were still trying to make financial arrangements for their split when the mistake by Vardags was made.
  • The error: The BBC reports that staffers in the Vardags office meant to apply for a final divorce order for another couple, but on Oct. 3, a lawyer acting on behalf of Mrs. Williams clicked on the wrong case file name in the drop-down menu when filing on an online portal. In less than 30 minutes, the Williamses were declared officially divorced in the system.

  • The judge: The Vardags staffers realized their mistake two days later, but Judge Andrew McFarlane shrugged off their request to reverse the divorce order, even though Mrs. Williams hadn't given her consent for filing. McFarlane noted that 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."
  • From Vardag herself: The self-referenced "Diva of Divorce" who heads the law firm calls McFarlane's ruling a "bad decision," noting that the state "should not be divorcing people on the basis of a clerical error."
  • Design flaw? Vardag also stands up for the staffer who clicked in the wrong place, telling the Law Society Gazette that the young attorney responsible is "one of the best of the next generation. Not sloppy, not careless." She adds that she believes the online portal needs an overhaul to prevent such things from happening again, and that the quick-clicking lawyer "genuinely needs support to deal with the trauma of it all."
(More divorce stories.)

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