Proposals have been put forward for online paperless courts that would enable people to settle civil disputes of up to £25,000.
The Government sponsored report said that most cases would be dealt with by non-judges in cyberspace. Rob Stubbs, head of Dispute Resolution at Banner Jones Solicitors commented “We give a cautious welcome to these proposals as they could free the court process from its nineteenth century reliance on mountains of paperwork”.
The report reveals that hearings would be largely automated and interactive, using the internet where possible. Hundreds of cases a year could be moved out of courtrooms with only complex cases being handled in the traditional way.
The report would see administrative case officers making decisions on the bulk of applications. Lord Justice Briggs accepted that the concept of a paperless court among those familiar with the legal system’s current practices required something of a suspension of disbelief! The civil courts deal with non-criminal matters such as financial disputes and damages claims. Family law cases such as divorce and child custody are currently excluded from the proposed reforms.
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