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Courts Service to set up new online channel for civil claims

25/05/17

HMCTS looks for support in its Civil Money Claims Development Service as part of programme to digitise courts

HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is preparing to enter the next stage of a project to make the Civil Money Claims process digital by default.

Justice statue over courtIt has begun to look for support from teams of front and back end developers in a two year project as part of its broader programme to digitise many of its services. A large part of its focus is on shifting high volume, paper based processes to digital channels.

This follows earlier indications that it is planning to launch a pilot of the online service at the end of July.

The project is aimed at making it possible to deal with many civil claims online without turning to lawyers, and will involve the introduction of a new way of issuing and defending claims. According to a recent report in the Law Society Gazette, the Civil Procedure Rules Committee – which sets out practice for procedure in the area – has indicated that the process will include simpler language to make it easier for the public.

It also said that only claims of less than £10,000 will be included in the pilot.

Earlier resolution

While few details of the new service are public so far, HMCTS says in the procurement notice: “The project will make use of new and innovative technology to encourage and support parties to reach resolution earlier in the civil claims procedure.”

It adds that when possible, hearings will take place virtually or by phone rather than face-to-face.

A discovery phase of the project was completed in November of last year and led to the development of a roadmap for the incremental delivery of capabilities.

The move raises a question over the future of the existing HMCTS Money Claim Online service. The Ministry of Justice has declined to clarify the situation citing pre-election purdah.

But it has been reported that the pilot of the new service will allow for more complex claims, with submissions going beyond the Money Claim Online limit of 1,080 characters.

Image: Tim Green, CC BY-SA 2.0 through flickr

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