Lord Dyson, who is also chairman of the Civil Justice Council, said:
“There is no doubt that ODR [online dispute resolution] has enormous potential for …the 21st century. Its aim is to broaden access to justice and resolve disputes more easily, quickly and cheaply. We have been very slow off the mark in this country."
Changes to civil procedure rules are likely to be necessary to authorise online courts, and legislation may also be required.
In response to the question whether online courts would lack authority, resulting in litigants becoming less honest, Lord Dyson remarked: “There are an awful lot of people who don’t tell the truth in courts that do have a lot of gravitas.”
The UK justice system should receive a radical overhaul for the digital age with the creation of an online court to expand access to justice and resolve claims of up to £25,000, the official body that oversees civil courts has recommended. In a transformative proposal for largely lawyer-free, virtual courtrooms, the civil justice council is calling for an internet-based dispute resolution system to be available within two years. Backed by Lord Dyson, the master of the rolls, who is head of the civil judiciary in England and Wales, the report says existing services - such as eBay’s disagreement negotiation procedure and Cybersettle’s blind-bidding operations - provide prototypes worth studying.