April 9, 2019

Courting Chaos? The reforms set to shake up our civil justice system

In 1178, Henry II established the seeds of the modern justice system, endeavouring to 'hear all the complaints of the realm and do right'. Whilst an admirable aim, the court system has become overburdened, inefficient and expensive for litigants, as it attempts to process the 1.9 million claims being made every year. The current administrative system is unable to cope, with largely paper based infrastructure bulging at the seams and disparate legacy IT systems that appear increasingly prone to outages.

To address these systemic problems, the government recently pledged £1.2bn to implement the most significant programme of justice reform since the 19th century.  This ambitious project intends to bring the court system into the 21st century. The changes will be rolled out gradually, with the aim of eventually cutting court spending by £250m annually from 2022.

With savings being a major driver for reform, criticism has already been levied at the government for authorising many court closures in anticipation of changes that are yet to be made. Fears have also been expressed that the proposed reforms are too much too fast, and could lead to an uncertain process for many and 'digital disenfranchisement' for non-IT literate service users. We analyse the following impending changes and consider the opportunities for insurers to get ahead of the reform curve:

  • Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Act 2018
  • Civil Money Claims Service Pilot
  • Whiplash Portal
  • Video Courts
  • E-Filing
  • Alternative dispute resolution