Civil Courts Structure Report: Set Up Online Courtrooms to Cut Lawyers Out of Legal Process
England, who gave us our common law system, still often leads the U.S. when it comes to legal system reforms. England’s recent experimentation with Alternative Business Structures (allowing non-lawyers own law firms) has, in some, cases had disastrous effects and, in any event, has had little impact on actual litigation. But a proposal to bring disputes on-line and to make litigation more independent of lawyers is applauded by Lawtender—although it would disagree that citizens would benefit from a completely removing advisors (attorneys) from the process.
The study, commissioned by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, said hearings should take place in cyberspace to free courts from the “stranglehold of paper”.
The “revolutionary” proposals would see administrative “case officers” making decisions on the bulk of applications, with only the serious and most contentious applications going before a judge.
Most of the work in civil courts would be done by non-judges, said the report.
The 140-page study, which is also embedded below, is open to consultation before coming up with final proposals.