It is no secret that many judicial systems across the globe are stumbling beneath a heavy burden of thousands of suits filed eve- ry year in court. The need to optimize the judicial system of Eng- land and Wales led Lord Justice Briggs to write a comprehensive report about the subject, in which he suggests the establishment of a model, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, which he terms the “Online Court.” In Civil Courts Structure Review: Final Report, he sets out the details of this Online Court, which I will analyze in this article.
The article contains two main parts. In the first part, the model is analyzed and broken down by its three stages. The advantages inherent to the Online Court are presented, including: saving time and money, making the court accessible to the disadvantaged, and reducing the caseload of each courtroom. Although there are many advantages, the Online Court has some serious drawbacks, including enabling frivolous lawsuits and the threat of identity theft by either party or even by a third party.
In the second part, I will attack the crux of the matter, tackling the attendant issues raised by moving legal proceedings to a virtual environment. These aspects relate to the absence of legal representation envisioned by the model, as well as the concern of false testimony. In the final analysis the pros of this model far outweigh the cons. Indeed, the model is a desirable template which should first be employed as a pilot program, dealing with civil proceedings which may be easily resolved and claims involving relatively small amounts of money. Further down the road, this model may be applied to additional proceedings involving cases which are more expensive or more complex.
Ultimately, the online legal system proposed constitutes the first step toward accommodating the court system to the innovative reality of the Internet Age, in a manner which is both systematic and controlled. The aim is to streamline existing legal proceedings and to make all legal services accessible, with the overarching ideal of “justice for all” as the guiding principle.
Menashe, Doron, A Critical Analysis of the Online Court (2018). University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2018,