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HMCTS prepares for online tribunals



Immigration and social security marked for steps in move from paper based to digital processes

HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is preparing to develop digital services for immigration and social security tribunals as part of its wider digitisation programme.

It is currently looking for a technical team to support the work, which forms part of its wider digitisation plans.

The programme involves breaking down the reliance on paper based processes for tribunals in two areas: immigration and asylum, and social security and child support.

HMCTS said the aim is to deliver a ‘digital by default’ solution that would make it possible to handle many appeals online and introduce a new way of progressing tribunals.

It will make use of unspecified new technology and involve a number of stakeholders, notably the Home Office for immigration and asylum and the Department for Work and Pensions for social security.

The two in-house teams are at different stages in the development process: at the discovery phase for immigration while the social security team expects to move into private beta during the summer.


HMCTS’s digitisation plans have not been welcomed from all quarters. Late last year a collection of legal groups and trade unions sounded a series of criticisms about the possible affect on the outcomes of hearings and the expected job losses.

Prior to that, the Employment Lawyers Association had criticised the plans for online employment tribunals, saying they would exclude many claimants and be unsuitable for complex cases.

But Susan Acland-Hood, chief executive of HMCTS, has recently reiterated plans to digitise a wide range of processes, claiming it will make justice easier and more accessible for more people.

Image from iStock


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