Council is advocating that HM Courts and Tribunals Service introduces a new internet-based Online Dispute Resolution service (ODR) for civil claims under £25,000.

The new ‘HM Online Court’ would aim to achieve early resolution of disputes through ‘facilitators’. If this fails members of the Judiciary would then decide cases on an online basis, interacting electronically with parties.

For low value claims, we are concerned that our current court system is too costly, too slow, and too complex,” said Professor Richard Susskind, Chair of the CJC’s Online Dispute Resolution Advisory Group and IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice. “We predict two major benefits would flow from HMOC – an increase in access to justice and substantial savings in the cost of the court system.”

The report says that ODR is “not science fiction” and points to the 60 million disagreements resolved using ODR by online auction website eBay each year.

This idea could revolutionise the resolution of low value disputes, saving a lot of time and expense,” said James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professional Risks. “I expect insurers will welcome the idea. Any initiative that reduces the cost of settling claims will help to reduce upward pressure on professional indemnity insurance premiums.”

The CJC’s report is available here. Articles on the proposed online court have been published by the Daily Telegraph and law firm Wright Hassell