05 Mar 2018
The go ‘live’ date for the online case management system supporting Simple Procedure has been announced – 13 March 2018 – and it will be introduced in phases.
Simple Procedure was brought in to replace small claims and summary cause procedures, including debt recovery actions for sums up to £5,000. Our article on Simple Procedure one year on can be found here:- There’s a Simple Procedure for dealing with commercial debt recovery
Simple Procedure at present
One of the main attractions of Simple Procedure was that it promised an online case management system. Although it was envisaged that the online case management system would go ‘live’ with the introduction of the Simple Procedure in November 2016, the launch has been delayed.
The delay has meant that the parties have had to download forms, complete them and send hard copies to the courts by post. Court timetables, decision forms and Court Orders have similarly been issued in hard copy format and sent to parties by post.
Simple Procedure Online going ‘live’
The Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service have recently indicated that the online case management system is scheduled to go ‘live’ on 13 March 2018. It is envisaged that the online system will be introduced in phases.
The first phase is expected to enable the current status of actions to be ascertained and allow documents to be viewed on-line. The second phase of the roll-out will extend to uploading the claim form and/or response form, together with any supporting documentation. Users will also have the ability to pay court fees and access and amend additional forms.
The phased roll-out should enable all users – parties, solicitors, clerks and sheriffs to become familiar with it before having to deal with the challenges that an increase in functionality will inevitably bring.
Moving litigation in Scotland into the 21st Century
With many law firms now recognising the benefits for both their business and the environment of embracing paper light systems, the introduction of Simple Procedure Online will be welcome. The same will be true for many individual users who are used to online systems for everything from ordering their shopping to dealing with their personal banking – and yet have to resort to paper and post for even the most straightforward court actions.
The coming months will hopefully deliver a more streamlined process for low value claims, enabling a quicker and more reliable exchange of documents/ information and an increased transparency for users. If Simple Procedure Online is judged a success, it can only be a matter of time before online systems follow for other types of court action in Scotland.
Debt Recovery Manager at Lindsays