A standalone online dispute resolution service should be set up to give self-employed workers access to justice, a left-wing thinktank has proposed. In a report The Self-Employed Justice Gap, the Fabian Society says that online justice, supported by artificial intelligence, could resolve disputes over matters such as employment status and late payments. 

To succeed, the system 'must be readily usable without the support of a lawyer or other professional adviser', the report states. 'This is the only way both to ensure that accessibility is not constrained and to reduce costs.' 

It suggests HM Courts & Tribunal Service, ACAS, HMRC and the Small Business Commissioner be jointly tasked with developing a platform. The capital set-up costs could be met from 'a small allocation' from the £1bn courts modernisation programme. 

The report is the latest in a series of initiatives to develop online justice platforms along the lines of British Columbia's Civil Resolution Tribunal, which is cited as a case study. The government-backed LawTech UK programme is currently inviting proposals for an online dispute resolution service for small and medium-sized businesses.