The online small claims court expected to be the model for England and Wales was launched in Canada last week when the Act moving it from voluntary to mandatory claims came into force. The value threshold for claims will eventually will rise to those up to C$25,000 (£14,610).
The new Online Court will not “ban lawyers” and there will be “a very limited element of fixed costs” so litigants can get initial legal advice, Lord Justice Briggs has said. He said the top limit for claims in the Online Court “may have to start at £10,000”, rather than £25,000.
Lord Justice Briggs has set out radical plans to create an online court, which could become the compulsory starting point for money claims worth up to £25,000, and which would be designed “for use by litigants without lawyers”.
A counsellor and a tech entrepreneur are launching an app to help couples going through separation or divorce, and cut down on the need for lawyers and the amount spent on them. The first version of the ‘amicable app’ will go live at the end of March.
The first online dispute resolution (ODR) system for divorcing and separating couples in the UK is to be launched by Relate next spring. Relate has received no government funding for the project, and instead relied on a number of sources, including Google.
A report for the Council of Europe has argued that online dispute resolution and use of IT could improve access to justice by “offering solutions to the problems of judicial inefficiency, the high cost of litigation and geographical barriers”.
Lord Dyson has praised a French online dispute resolution (ODR) website for opening up justice and said he hoped “something similar” would be created in this country.
Emerging countries and large corporations will lead the way on court technology while the UK and USA lag behind, experts at the Global Law Summit in London have predicted just a week after the Civil Justice Council unveiled its blueprint for online dispute resolution.
It is time for a “radical and fundamental change” in the way the courts deal with low-value claims, a major report argues today, calling for the introduction of state-backed online dispute resolution across England and Wales in 2017.
The government should invest in online dispute resolution for small claims – but not until 2016 so lessons can be learnt from pioneering projects in Holland and Canada, a major report has advised. Meanwhile, Professor Richard Susskind has called for ODR to be explored “urgently”.