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‘Online’ Courts

Fiona Woodall, Student Member of the Institute of Chartered Legal Executives in Astle Paterson’s Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department, discusses the recent proposals to introduce a fully online Court procedure for the resolution of money and other disputes.

Fiona said “Proposals for a Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) procedure have been outlined in a recent report prepared by Professor Richard Susskind, the I.T. advisor to the Lord Chief Justice.

People may be familiar with the ‘Resolution Centre’ on eBay.   The ODR process will not be dissimilar to that process.  It is proposed that ODR claims will be decided by an online 3-tier system – the first being “dispute avoidance”, the second being “dispute containment” and the third “dispute resolution.”

Professor Susskind has said he is hopeful ODR will result in most cases being resolved at either tier one or tier two, which involve the parties negotiating settlement between themselves with the assistance of a facilitator if necessary.

Should a dispute proceed to the third tier then it is proposed an online Judge will consider the case using papers he or she has received electronically – although there would be an option for telephone hearings.

The decision of the Judge would be as binding as a decision made by a Judge in a physical Court.”

Fiona concluded “The proposed ODR Scheme, which would be aimed at settling civil cases of less than £25,000.00, could modernise the Court system and reduce expenses both for the parties involved and for the taxpayer.

Should the Report be implemented, it is proposed that a pilot scheme should be trialled before the system is fully rolled out in 2017.”

Should your business or you be in a dispute then please contact Astle Paterson’s Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department on 01283 531366 or by way of email at fwoodall@astlepaterson.co.uk to discuss matters further.   

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