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Sustainable Courtrooms? Slowly but surely…

For many clients, one of the most surprising and daunting aspects of litigation is the sheer volume of paperwork.  To assist the court, documents are collated, tabulated, indexed, paginated, and duplicated many times over, and then transported across the city and beyond, all in anticipation of debates which may be decided in a matter of minutes in the court room.  The large cost of materials and labour can unsurprisingly appear wasteful to a new litigant, both economically and environmentally, given the availability of technology which could significantly reduce the need for these costs.

Where other industries have moved to paperless offices, hot-desks, and remote access, the courts remain far behind, but thankfully are slowly moving into the 21st century, demonstrating this through certain initiatives:

  1. Money Claim Online – allows claims to be brought for specific money amounts up to £100,000 entirely electronically, saving significant time and costs writing letters to courts and Defendants;
  2. CE File – introduced under the Electronic Working Pilot Scheme allows litigators to electronically issue proceedings and file documents online at any time with many of the London courts, which streamlines filing and removes the cost of printing court copies;

 

Where other industries have moved to paperless offices, hot-desks, and remote access, the courts remain far behind

  1. The Supreme Court’s Practice Direction 14 allows filing of documents electronically, requires electronic document formatting to streamline their use at hearing, and requires counsel to refer to documents in their electronic form.  The formatting requirements include a hyperlinked index and corresponding PDF bookmarks, while also encouraging hypertext links to appended documents and reported versions of legal authorities.  Parties can submit large bundles of documents in an organised fashion via memory stick or via the extranet case management tool CaseLines.

Electronic documentation improves usability, and clients benefit from more easily readable documents where such practices are implemented, particularly in complex matters.  Extranet tools like those often now used by Clarkslegal on larger cases are particularly valuable, allowing clients to access their entire case remotely whether in the office or elsewhere, streamlining the communication process with their solicitor.  Where opposing solicitors agree, this can also be used to manage document exchange between the parties, giving all stakeholders a clear picture of the state of a matter.  If you have any queries about these facilities, feel free to contact Clarkslegal.

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Disclaimer

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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