The pandemic will be seen as the catalyst for reform across many sectors. But Sir Geoffrey Vos, master of the rolls, believes that ‘the justice system cannot stand on the side-lines’ and must embrace reform.
Vos argues that coming generations simply will not accept the current ‘slow, paper-based and court-house centric justice system.’ And he argues that without reform, new generations will ‘look for other means of dispute resolution.’
Civil justice reform is ‘essential’
In his latest talk, The Direction of Travel for Civil Justice, Vos implores legal professionals to consider the importance of reforming the civil justice system.
Vos believes the UK civil court system must embrace the use of technology, and this is both ‘inevitable and essential.’
He argues that a quick, accessible and effective civil court system will be of great importance to the UK economy. Yet he believes that many ‘ignore’ the fact that reforms will have ‘extremely beneficial consequences for the UK economy.’ Online processes, Vos argues, will reduce the delays and expenses of the system’s current ‘paper-based approach.’
Reform won’t happen ‘overnight’
Yet Vos acknowledges, ‘I am not so naïve as to think that all this can be created overnight.’ And he states his goal of full civil justice reform is ‘still some distance away.’
This has only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The court system now faces extensive delays, which some believe will extend waiting times by nearly 2 years.
Vos states, ‘an efficient debt recovery system can be the difference between solvency and insolvency for literally thousands of consumers and SMEs alike.’ But he argues that current system practices are not as effective as they should be, and that ‘appropriate and accessible dispute resolution mechanisms must be made available.’
Consumers and businesses need quick access to civil justice, and Vos believes that reform is imperative if we are to have ‘confidence in the future’ of the system.
You don’t have to wait
Even pre-pandemic, 2 million civil claims were issued across England and Wales every year, with 1.6 million of these being money claims. Yet unprecedented delays to the system mean that court waiting times could now exceed 18 months.
But why should you have to wait for justice? If you’re owed money, you deserve it back.
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