Duty to make support available for digitally excluded people

Part of Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 9:45 am, 23rd July 2019

I am always nervous when telling the hon. Gentleman, who is an experienced lawyer, how the courts work. He has spent far more time in courts than I have in my life. If I may rehearse my earlier point, clause 4 is a legally binding duty on the Lord Chancellor to arrange for the provision of appropriate and proportionate support to those litigants who may be digitally excluded.

In my view, that legally binding duty will encompass telephone supportbut it will be for the procedure rule committee to determine in each and every example where it has to formulate rules for online procedures whether that should include at least telephone support or over and above that. It will be within the ambit of the Committee to stipulate whether it wishes to do so, and whether a wider range of means of support may be appropriate for the technology of the time when it seeks to make those rules.