The official new proposals by Lord Justice Briggs for an online lawyer-free court for claims of up to £25,000 certainly make interesting reading:
There is a clear and pressing need to create an Online Court for claims up to £25,000 designed for the first time to give litigants effective access to justice without having to incur the disproportionate cost of using lawyers. There will be three stages: Stage 1- a largely automated, inter-active online process for the identification of the issues and the provision of documentary evidence; Stage 2 – conciliation and case management, by case officers; Stage 3 resolution by judges. The court will use documents on screen, telephone, video or face to face meetings to meet the needs of each case.
A lot of human rights and unlawful detention claims would fall within the proposed limits. The online court would have its own set of procedure rules
The proposals are at an early stage but there seems to be a lot of steam behind this one. There are also proposals for relieving the pressure on the Court of Appeal and merging the employment tribunal jurisdiction into the civil court structure amongst other things.