An interim report from Lord Justice Briggs recommends urgent work to design the structure and software needed for a reorganisation of courts, particularly the online court.
The Judicial Office is now inviting further comments before the final report is completed in the summer.
Lord Justice Briggs was tasked in July 2015 to review the civil justice court structure. In his interim report, he says that he has found a ‘clear and pressing need’ to create an online court for claims up to £25,000.
The report says ODR will give litigants ‘effective access to justice without having to incur the disproportionate cost of using lawyers’.
The online court would work in three stages: the first a largely automated service for identifying issues; the second conciliations and case management by case officers; the third resolution by judges.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers voiced grave concerns that the proposed online court may exclude people’s ability to access legal advice for cases up to £25k in value. People seeking to recover monies due and owed to them will still need legal advice on their claim, as well as assistance with navigating through the process, whether online or otherwise.