In 2015, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls, asked Lord Briggs to carry out a review of the courts and the civil system.
The report has made a number of recommendations, which may or may not be implemented – only time will tell.
The Online Court
Establishing an Online Court, for money claims up to £25,000 with minimum assistance from lawyers.
The Online Court will not include personal injury or clinical negligence claims with a value of £1,000 or more. Property repossession claims, professional negligence and intellectual property disputes will also be excluded. This of course means that deposit disputes, dilapidation/disrepair cases and contractual claims against agents (excluding professional negligence) may be included in this new forum.
Case officers, trained and supervised by judges will assist with administrative judicial functions including conciliation methods with the Online Court.
The County Court should be the single default court for the enforcement of civil judgements and orders (there are exceptions but those are beyond the scope of this blog). Enforcement should be digitised, centralised and rationalised.
Deployment of Judges
Cases, no matter how big, should be resolved in regional courts. The current shortage of circuit judges needs to be addressed.
The report is some 298 pages long and can be read in full here. The Online Court has already been planned by the MoJ and HMCTS but, whether any further recommendations will be implemented is not clear at this early stage.