Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:51 pm on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 2:51 pm, 16th July 2019

In the grand philosophical scheme of things, I probably agree with the hon. Lady, but the purpose of the Bill is to ensure, as we move online, that the rules are common across civil, family and tribunal procedures. To my mind, it is about ensuring, as we move online, that they operate to a common procedure in order to harness the user experience wherever possible, and that is what this Bill seeks to do.

Secondly, the Bill clearly recognises that some people may not want or be able to use our online services, even with support, so it makes explicit provision for the availability of non-electronic channels, which will of course include paper. That was always the Government’s intention, and we have now made clear the provision for users to choose a paper option throughout proceedings.

We are clear that this Bill will not prevent anyone from accessing justice; rather, it will improve access to justice by opening up a new route of access and creating a swifter, easier alternative for litigants. The reforms I have discussed are part of our important manifesto commitment to reform our courts and make them fit for the 21st century. For those reasons, I commend the Bill to the House.