Judge proposes online courts with no lawyers


An ‘online court’ which removes the need for lawyers should be created, a new report has recommended.

The report, by appeal court judge Lord Justice Briggs, said: “There is a clear and pressing need to use the opportunity presented by the digitising of the civil courts to create for the first time a court – the Online Court (OC) – for litigants to be enabled to have effective access to justice without lawyers.”

“Modern IT would enable court users to issue a claim without the assistance of lawyers by accessing online software.”

The report clarified that the phrase ‘online court’ was “not meant to suggest that everything submitted to that court will inevitably take place online, rather than, for example, on the telephone, by video conference, or in a traditional face-to-face encounter with a judge in a hearing room.”

But it said: “The true distinguishing feature of the OC is that it would be the first court ever to be designed in this country, from start to finish, for use by litigants without lawyers.”

The proposed court would deal with civil hearings with a value of up to £25,000, excluding personal injury cases.

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