The Rolls Building is to get a new IT system by late 2015, allowing litigants to file claims online.
The £300m site has been without a modern IT system since a £10m upgrade attempt was cancelled in 2012. All filings are currently made on paper rather than electronically.
Last December a major review of the Chancery Division concluded that an almost complete lack of IT in the division – centred on the Rolls Building – makes effective modernisation and reform ‘simply unachievable’.
The review’s author, Lord Justice Briggs (pictured), said: ‘An unfortunate feature of the Chancery Division, particularly in London, is that it is the most poorly served of any court or tribunal in the United Kingdom by IT. This is despite the fact that its workload is as technical and document-heavy as any other, if not indeed foremost in that respect.’
HM Courts & Tribunals Service said this week that contract negotiations for a system are ongoing, with the supplier to be announced shortly.
Tony Guise, chairman of the Commercial Litigation Association (CLAN), welcomed the news. ‘CLAN has campaigned for many years to have cost-effective IT introduced into the civil courts.
‘This is a start, although the mention of contract negotiations will naturally raise concerns among our members that once again this may never happen. We look forward to being more than pleasantly surprised.’
The current timetable is to deliver the new system in phases by late 2015, HMCTS said.