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UK Launches Online Writ Service - Lawyers Concerned

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

11 December 2003


The UK's legal sector has expressed concern at the creation of a new service which allows individuals to file writs for sums of up to £100,000 online, and to pursue their claims in the same manner.

The service, called Money Claim Online, has already been launched by the Court Service, although its official start date was intended to be January 2004.

According to guidance issued by the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) with regard to making a claim via the new service:

A claim may be started using Money Claim Online if it meets all the following conditions –

(1) the only remedy claimed is a specified amount of money –
(a) less than £100,000 (excluding any interest or costs claimed); and
(b) in sterling;

(2) the procedure under Part 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) is used;

(3) the claimant is not –
(a) a child or patient; or
(b) funded by the Legal Services Commission;

(4) the claim is against –
(a) a single defendant; or
(b) two defendants, if the claim is for a single amount against each of them;

(5) the defendant is not –
(a) the Crown; or
(b) a person known to be a child or patient; and

(6) the defendant's address for service is within England and Wales.

The service cannot be used by 'vexatious litigants' (i.e. those who have been banned from issuing further legal proceedings without court permission), and claimants must 'sign' a statement attesting to the truth of their claims by typing their names, a provision which some observers have warned may leave the system open to abuse.


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