The architect of an online court for claims up to £25,000 promised today it will provide access to justice for a ‘disenfranchised class’.

Referring to the forum under its working title the Online Solutions Court, Lord Justice Briggs said the court would help in instances were the ‘level of dispute is not enough to warrant going through the current process’.

He said many people who aim to bring small to moderate sized disputes are put off the current system either because of the cost or if they do not regard it as a sensible use of money.

Briggs was speaking at the Global Pound Conference in London today.

He added that the court, if successful with smaller claims, could also hear disputes beyond the £25,000 limit currently imposed. ‘We have ambitions to go further and wider if it is a success,’ Briggs told the conference.

The Court of Appeal judge said that at ‘every level’ there was a need to make courts more accessible. In commercial dispute resolution the UK is facing real challenges and fierce competition from jurisdictions such as Singapore, he said. 

The online court will have a three-stage process: an automated triage to decide on the merits of a case, arbitration handled by an assigned case officer and a judicial decision if the case cannot be resolved any other way. 

Briggs' final report on the future of civil courts was published in July last year. He originally announced the online court as requiring ‘minimum assistance from lawyers’ but later acknowledged that there would be instances where professional input would prove useful.

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