Have your say on the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill

17 July 2019

Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) [HL] Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament?

If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.

The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 23 July 2019; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage, which is expected to be not later than 5.00pm on Thursday 25 July 2019. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 25 July 2019.*

* In the last Parliamentary Session, the following Public Bill Committees concluded their consideration of the Bill earlier than scheduled: Criminal Finances, Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts), Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs), Neighbourhood Planning, Savings (Government Contributions), Technical and Further Education, Commonwealth Development Corporation, Children & Social Work, National Citizen Service, and Bus Services.

Aims of the Bill

In early July the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords. The Bill provides a legislative framework for court proceedings to be conducted by electronic means.

The Bill reintroduces proposals that initially formed part of Part 2 of the Prison and Courts Bill in the 2016-17 Parliamentary session. The passage of that Bill was prevented by the dissolution of the last Parliament for an early general election in 2017.

Some of the proposals in that Bill have been revived and legislated for by other means during the current Parliamentary session. Examples of this include the Civil Liability Act 2018 and the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Act 2018.
 
The proposals to make greater use of technology and online proceedings emerged from the Briggs Review, which reported in 2015 and 2016 into reform of civil court structure. This Bill’s provisions provide electronic procedures in relation to civil and family court and tribunal proceedings.
The Bill has three main practical effects.

  • Firstly, it confers regulation-making powers on Ministers, subject to the affirmative procedure. Appropriate ministers can designate certain types of court or tribunal proceedings as ones which may or must be conducted by electronic means, subject to the Online Procedure Rules.
  • Secondly, it establishes the Online Procedure Rule Committee (OPRC) and defines that body’s powers to make Online Procedure Rules (OPRs).
  • Thirdly, the Bill determines the membership rules and appointments process for the OPRC.

Follow the progress of the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) [HL] Bill

The Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill (the Online Procedure Bill) was introduced by the Government in the House of Lords on 1 May 2019. It received its Lords Third Reading on 2 July 2019 and was introduced into the House of Commons on 3 July 2019. The debate on its Second Reading in the Commons took place on 16 July 2019.

This Bill has now been committed to a Public Bill Committee and is expected to hold 4 line-by-line scrutiny sessions on Tuesday 23 and Thursday 25 July. The Public Bill Committee must conclude by Thursday 25 July. There will be no oral evidence sessions.

Guidance on submitting written evidence

Deadline for written evidence submissions

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration, and possibly reflect it in an amendment. The order in which amendments are taken in Committee will be available in due course under Selection of Amendments on the Bill documents pages. Once the Committee has dealt with an amendment it will not revisit it.

The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 23 July 2019; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Thursday 25 July 2019. Please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 25 July 2019.

Your submission should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk.

Further guidance on submitting written evidence can be found here.

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