Catalogue description Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, later Supreme Court of Judicature: Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Files

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Details of J 77
Reference: J 77
Title: Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, later Supreme Court of Judicature: Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Files

Files of papers arising from petitions for divorce, judicial separation, declarations of legitimacy, applications for protection of a wife's earnings, etc, in the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes and Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice. Some later files also relate to appeals from decisions of magistrates' courts in matrimonial causes.

Access is by the indexes in J 78.

Between 1858 and 1927 almost all divorce files survive. Between 1928 and 1937, the 80% of suits that were filed in the Central Registry are in J 77. The 20% of suits that were filed in the new district registries were destroyed (they are not indexed by J 78). After 1938, through to cases where petitions were filed in 1972, very few survive for each year. Files containing petitions dated after 1972 have not been transferred to The National Archives.

Many files contain marriage certificates. Later files (after 1938) may contain photographs.

Date: 1858-2002

For the period 1858 to 1866 the files are arranged numerically under the first letter of petitioners' names. Thereafter they are in a numerical sequence of file numbers covering overlapping blocks of years.

Related material:

For registers of divorce cases of HM Procurator General see TS 29

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, 1858-1875

Supreme Court of Judicature, Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, 1875-1970

Physical description: 4693 boxes, bundles and files
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure
Immediate source of acquisition:

from 1996 The Court Service

1987-1995 Lord Chancellor's Department

1962 Supreme Court of Judicature

Selection and destruction information: In most cases the files have been weeded and contain only minutes, pleadings and decrees, but in certain selected suits, illustrating particular kinds of proceedings, papers have been preserved in their entirety. From 1938 specimens of the files (for each year) have been selected in order to illustrate the changing nature of divorce in accordance with the recommendations of the Report of the Committee on Legal Records (Cmnd 3084) of 1966.
Accruals: No further accruals are anticipated.

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