Judiciary call for courts to embrace of information technology
Two leading members of the English judiciary, Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger and Mr Justice Vos have both called for the English courts to embrace information technology and increase the pace of reforming the inefficient, old-fashioned, paper based document system. This measure, they say, will help to promote the use of the English courts around the globe and will improve access to justice.
Vos J believes that the English legal profession and the courts are a great export to foreign business. He says that UK law firms working abroad promote other UK-based services such as accountants, architects and financial services companies.
Vos J criticised the current system adopted by the courts where electronic documents and e-mail are not actively encouraged and promoted over paper documents. The current system seems to place e-mail and electronic documents firmly in second place behind paper. Unsurprisingly, this results in duplication, it is labour intensive, expensive and adds to the law’s carbon footprint. This is a good example of where the English courts have not kept apace with rapid changes in information technology.
In a separate speech, Lord Neuberger has suggested reducing the length of court hearings and trials. He is also of the view that the courts need to catch up with the rest of modern business.
For a number of years now, the courts have offered a money claims online service where claims can be issued online but this is only for money claims up to £100,000. This service needs to be extended to deal with other types and levels of claims.
It is hoped that these calls for reform are given priority to maintain the English courts as the chosen arena for resolving disputes amongst international businesses.