ebayLow value civil claims could be dealt with eBay-style, online and lawyer-free, according to proposals published today. A new report by the Civil Justice Council has recommended an internet-based online dispute resolution system, which would see largely lawyer-free, virtual courtrooms to settle low-value non-criminal cases of less than £25,000.

Backing the recommendations, Lord Dyson, chairman of the Civil Justice Council, said the justice system has been slow to use the internet to its potential and is lagging behind other countries.

Online dispute resolution is an area with enormous potential for meeting the needs of the system and its users in the 21st Century. Its aim is to broaden access to justice and resolve disputes more easily, quickly and cheaply. The challenge lies in delivering a system that fulfils that objective.’
Lord Dyson

The Civil Justice Council says the new digital system would run alongside the traditional court system, increasing access to justice and streamlining the process. This digital resolution would resolve claims of up to £25,000, reducing expenses generated by a court. The proposals are similar to a scheme used by eBay, which uses a model to diagnose and resolve around 60 million disputes each year. That model was described by Professor Richard Susskind, the chair of the Civil Justice Council, as ‘remarkable’. ‘Our current court system is too costly, too slow, and too complex, especially for litigants in person,’ Susskind said. ‘We argue that to improve access to justice, it is vital not just to have better methods of resolving disputes but also to have effective ways of avoiding and containing disputes. ODR can help here.’

Justice would not be done if people with complex claims found themselves ‘funnelled down routes that are designed for a quick result at the expense of proper consideration of relevant facts in their case’, the Bar Council said in their response to the report. ‘Dispute resolution, on-line or in court, must deliver the same quality of justice as more traditional routes,’ the barristers’ group said.

An important issue, among others, Lord Dyson explained, was how the press could access deliberations, but stressed that the proposals were at an early stage. He also flagged up the concern that might feel deprived of rights to sit in court and in front of a judge to air their grievances. The report came after senior judge, Lady Justice Gloster, called for courts to move into the digital age. Last year the Ministry of Justice said changes were planned and in March, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the use of technology would be updated. 

Profile photo of Brooke Perriam About Brooke Perriam
BA Journalism undergraduate (third year), writer and reporter.

Print Friendly

5 Comments

  • sheila rabant March 1, 2015 10:45 pm

    I sold an item dec 4. It was stuck in sweden customs for 2 months during that time the buyer opened and won a non receipt case so they got a full refund from me on jan 11. The item was confirmed delivered jan 30. I appealed & lost on feb 11. The buyer acklowleges receiving and said they would pay but haven’t as of march 1st. How do I go about sueing someone overseas?

    • trevor December 29, 2015 9:45 am

      Hi Sheila,
      Just writing to say that I’m sad to know you were left out of pocket after selling something on Ebay.
      as we all know people can be incredibly insensitive unfair and deceitful especially when money is involved.
      I was also left out of pocket when I brought a job lot of men’s ties which were listed as Designer brands such Thomas Pink and Hugo boss.
      I paid about £45 for the ties and about £8 for p+p so in total it came to about £58.
      when I received the ties
      most of them were stained and without labels which had been removed despite the fact that the seller listed them as designer brands
      and of course no mention of the labels being removed were made in the listing.
      so when I wrote back to the seller to complain
      the seller of course expressed surprise and denied misleading me
      but the seller did offer me a refund.
      but when I was ready to send the ties back the seller suddenly refused and started using pathetic excuses such as recently having an eye operation and so was unable to refund me.
      but did promise to get back to me…I’m still waiting.
      so this is why I sympathize with how you feel
      because being let down always leaves people feeling frustrated and upset
      all because the person on the other side decides to be selfish and unreasonable.
      and sadly people like that are everywhere and no amount of laws can keep them out
      because it all comes down to personal choice to either be fair and honest or unfair and dishonest and your case and mine
      the people we dealt with were unfair and dishonest and didn’t care at all about our feelings.
      but if we had done it to them
      they would be the first to complain.

    • trevor March 11, 2016 6:33 pm

      Hi Sheila
      did you get justice from Ebay?
      I hope so.
      I’m still waiting in vain for a refund from the seller who conned me.

      • sheila_0622@yahoo.com March 12, 2016 4:38 pm

        EBay did not care because of time limits.
        I got great free advice from a lawyer: I sent a letter (email) stating all my facts with details and told the buyer I would persue further action (meaning sue but not in a threatening way) if I didn’t receive payment.
        It worked! Buyer paid within 1 week.

  • IS August 4, 2016 8:19 am

    I came here hoping to read something about a potential solution to the widespread injustice on ebay, so I’m surprised to see that the ebay system is being considered as a model to follow. The ebay system is not “remarkable”. It may seem to work, if closed cases is the only criteria, because sellers are forced to accept unequal treatment just so they could continue to play the game and keep selling. Buyers and sellers do not have equal rights on ebay. The ebay system “works” because ebay almost automatically sides with buyers, does not give sellers an opportunity to defend themselves, and is ultimately not a true system for justice. Having said that, it would be great to have an online, lawyer-less, and legally binding way to seek justice for small claims and transaction disputes, like for what typically is unsatisfactorily settled on ebay.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar