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Committee reports on Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill

7 June 2019

The Constitution Committee today publishes a report on the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill.

Key findings

The Bill confers broad powers to Ministers to replace traditional oral hearings with online proceedings. The Committee observes that the powers in the Bill could be used to apply online procedures to a much wider range of cases than Government currently envisages, and that this could potentially limit oral hearings to an extent that would contravene fundamental rights to a fair hearing both at common law and under the European Convention on Human Rights. The Committee recommends that the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, or the Senior President of Tribunals, should be required for extending online procedure rules for additional types of proceeding.

The Committee also recommends that the Lord Chancellor is placed under a duty to make adequate provisions to ensure those with limited digital means, digital literacy, or general literacy can access online proceedings.

Further information

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