The Rise of Online Courts

The Rise of Online Courts

Continuing the theme of new developments online, a major new report in the United Kingdom (pp75-88) recommends the development of an online court (OC). The “Civil Courts Structure Review”, headed by Lord Justice Briggs, proposes “the first ever court to be designed in this country…. for use by litigants without lawyers.” Other features of the OC described in the Interim Report, released in December 2015, include an online application process, a built-in conciliation stage, and the use of video conference or other technologically-assisted fora rather than a traditional face-to-face trial.

The OC is described as “the single most radical and important structural change with which this report is concerned”. Jurisdiction is initially proposed as limited to disputes under £25,000, but the report notes that this could be expanded if the OC is a success.

The UK proposal – the use of technology, absence of lawyers, and built-in conciliation process – has much in common with the proposed structure of the British Columbia Civil Resolutions Tribunal established by the 2012 Civil Resolution Tribunal Act. Canada’s first online dispute resolution and adjudicative tribunal, the tribunal’s scope will initially be limited to small claims matters under $25,000 and specified condominium disputes.

The Tribunal has just put out a call for testers of the intake process; they prefer those with previous small claims or strata dispute experience. You will receive a small gift as thanks. If you are interested in participating you can read about this here

For further reading on the concept of an OC, we recommend Thomson Reuters 2015 White Paper “The Future of the Courts”, available at

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Comment (1)

  • bcaptijn

    Good initiatives. “Disruptive technologies” seem to be hitting the legal profession finally. The impetus is coming from consumers who can’t afford hourly legal fees and retainers. There is a huge affordability problem experienced by the middle class, a need for less complicated and affordable solutions to everyday problems. Whichever firms get ahead of this curve will benefit in the long run. Thank you to NSRLP for understanding the problem and leading the discussion.

    January 21, 2016 at 4:53 pm

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