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.
David Harris, a Consultant at Spire Solicitors LLP said:
“At first blush these seem like sensible proposals, in step with the times.
The issue that I foresee is as follows. Practitioners will know that many clients still are unfamiliar with using the internet, emails, and Skype. Usually these are older clients who increasingly feel left behind as so much in the field of commerce moves online.
Unfortunately, I see these reforms as reducing access to justice to that part of society which is least mobile. The recent court closure programme, together with online dispute resolution, threatens to leave this demographic behind.
Many of us have experience of using dispute resolution over companies such as Ebay. There is, however, quite a difference between resolving a dispute over an undelivered purchase and one which involves technical disputes over land boundaries, rights of way and so on.
That being said, where the parties already have the legal representation, I would give a cautious welcome to improved electronic communication with the courts.”
If you would like assistance in relation to a civil dispute, contact David Harris at Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077 for further information.