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Tribunals going on line?

You may start to hear more stories about HMCTS starting to put Tribunal hearings online, after the head of the Tribunal Service published a blog post. Here are the facts.

The blog says that in the next 18 months HMCTS will START to allow people to file their appeal online, by uploading documents rather than sending them by post. You will also be able to track the progress of your appeal online.

On hearings, HMCTS will also START to hold some hearings by video link rather than face to face. They may also START an online process before hearings where a judge can ask you questions to speed up your appeal, but not decide it.

This is likely to be a very slow process and these are only their goals, not predictions. Government IT always takes much longer than predicted.

The really important thing to remember is that face to face hearings will still continue just as they do now for everyone who wants one, or who can’t attend a video conference, or who can’t take part in the online process. You’ll still be able to get justice from the Tribunal just like now.

Even when these new ways of working are introduced, they won’t automatically be worse than the ones we have now. Video hearings and preheating questioning have been common in the justice system for many years and haven’t caused problems.

Please try not to be too worried by these changes, and particularly don’t listen to unscrupulous fee charging advice services who might use alarmist stories to drum up more business. For most people, this isn’t going to make any difference for years yet.

Please ask any questions you have and myself and the team at BuDS will try to answer them. Thanks for this explanation Alex McPherson and everyone at BuDS..

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