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Made in India Magazine | June 19, 2021

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Indrasish Banerjee

Legal disputes are a big headache for everyone involved. They cost a lot, and they’re an inconvenience that most people can do without. Now there is a proposal to build an Online Court that will listen to and pass judgement on disputes for a fraction of the cost.

As they say, the internet is everywhere. Now we’ve reached a stage where people are using expert consulting services – like the services of a medical doctor, for example – on the internet. Now, as early as 2017, we could be looking at an online system of justice, where parties could log in via the web and have their disputes resolved by appointed members of the judiciary for as little as $US25.
Online dispute resolution centres have been around for a while, the most popular one being eBay’s long-established Resolution Centre and websites like Swiftcourt, which offers to arbitrate in legal disputes.
The Civil Justice Council in the UK has clearly found these websites good enough to emulate on a large scale, and therefore in a report, it has recommended that people be able to appeal for and receive justice without having to visit a court in person. The report’s principal recommendation is that the government set up an online court service known as ‘HM Online Court’ (HMOC).
The central vision of the report is the appointment of full-time and part-time Online Judges, who could pass judgements via the web. Telephone conferencing can also be arranged in cases that require it.
Since the Ministry of Justice has been struggling with budget since 2010, this could be a suitable strategy to offset all the costs that go into a typical dispute, a rather hefty bill that gets transferred to the consumer at the end of the day. With new ways of dealing with the process and passing justice, the Ministry of Justice could do more with less, once the initial outlay of cost is recouped.
The new proposed system will also help with paperwork. The amount of paper building up in the court system is getting out of hand, and any process that will rationalise it and reduce it with the leveraged use of technology is only welcome. Best of all, this will likely reduce the amount of money it costs for the common man to bring and fight a dispute in court. It will make the legal system more efficient than it is now, and that can only be a good thing.
So see you in (internet) court!

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