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The Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill [HL] is a government bill that would establish an Online Procedure Rule Committee (OPRC) tasked with producing an online procedure rules framework for use in certain civil, tribunal and family proceedings. The framework would enable parties to specified kinds of proceedings to use the online procedure. The Government intends the OPRC to have expertise in the delivery of legal services through IT and for the rules to use a “mix of technology” to provide a quick and simple dispute resolution process. It explained:

The new rule committee will have expertise in the law and the provision of lay advice, IT and other relevant experience which will enable it to produce court rules to support the online procedure. The online procedure will be a new digital procedure governed by a new set of rules separate to current processes. It will use a mix of technology, conciliation and judicial resolution to provide a simple and quick dispute resolution process.

The Government expects the new rules to be “simple” and “intelligible to, and easily navigable by, all people who rely on our courts system”.

The bill is due to receive its second reading on 14 May 2019. It was introduced in the House of Lords on 1 May 2019 by the HM Advocate General for Scotland and Ministry of Justice spokesperson for the Lords, Lord Keen of Elie.

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