An interesting article appeared on the Court and Tribunals Judiciary website this week, Lord Justice Briggs, deputy head of civil justice, has called for the creation of a cyber court where litigants can resolve their civil disputes online the on line court would deal with claims of up to £25,000. Numerous immigration, human rights and unlawful detention claims could fall within the proposed limits of £25,000.
Lord Justice Briggs said the central assumption of his review of the civil courts was that it was “now technically possible to free the courts from the constraints of storing, transmitting and communicating information on paper”.
The challenge was to design a paperless court while recognising there would have to be a “substantial, difficult and probably painful transitional period before that revolutionary change is fully achieved”, he said.
It required both a “willing suspension of disbelief” and an “informed imagination about the contours of a brave new paperless world for which there are few, if any, precedents”, he said.
To show what could be done, he had conducted his entire six-month review without receiving or generating a single piece of paper – despite being a “two-finger typist”.
This is the vision laid out for the online court.
It would be the first mainstream court in England and Wales designed to be used, from start to finish, without lawyers. Claimants and defendants could still consult lawyers if they could afford them.
New software would guide litigants on how to formulate their claims and show them how to scan the relevant supporting documents using their smartphones, he said.
Next, a case officer would deal with conciliation and case management.
Finally, a district judge would decide the case – with a face-to-face trial being regarded as a last resort.
The online court would eventually become compulsory for a variety of lower level claims.
The original review, was commissioned by the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls but now a larger and more formal process will take place,the Judicial Office has invited responses to be submitted before the end of February 2016.
Finally, Lord Justice Briggs will hold a programme of meetings from March to May, it is expected that this review will be complete by the end of July 2016.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future… – John F Kennedy