Online ‘Lawyerless’ Courts Could Provide Disadvantages in Access to Justice

27 Jul, 2016

The Bar Council has responded to Lord Justice Briggs’ Civil Courts Structure Review.

Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said: “Efforts to modernise the courts and improve efficiencies in our justice system are essential. It is surely time to make a proper investment in our civil justice system for the future, to provide justice for all. We shall study this report, which contains many innovative recommendations, carefully, not least to assess its impact on access to justice.

“Any moves towards an online court for claims of up to £25,000 must avoid the risk of entrenching a system of two-tier justice whereby individuals opting to use a ‘lawyerless’ online court process could easily find themselves in litigation with big organisations which can afford to hire their own legal teams.

“Sir Michael Briggs is right to acknowledge that the success of the online court will depend critically on digital assistance for all those challenged by the use of computers, and on continuing improvement in public legal education.

“In reviewing these proposals, we must also assess what impact they may have on the world-renowned reputation of our legal system, which needs protecting more than ever in the current changing climate.”

(Source: Bar Council)

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