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Judge outlines plans to update and improve the court system

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Probate cases could increasingly be dealt with by new “digital” courts, a senior Judge has argued.

Giving a speech earlier this week, Sir James Munby said that the judicial process needed to evolve and suggested that some proceedings would be dealt with online as early as next year.

Mr Munby said that courts were beginning to make increasing use of new technologies, with the introduction of electronic documents, but the modernisation programme needed to go further still.

He suggested that probate cases could be among the first which are dealt with online, with Judges interacting electronically with the parties involved and their solicitors.

“It is a visionary programme of ambition unprecedented anywhere in the world,” said Mr Munby, who has made the case on a number of occasions for simplifying and updating the current system.

“But it can be done; it must be done; it will be done. And when it has been done, we will at last have escaped from a court system still in too large part moored in the world of the late Mr Charles Dickens.

“We cannot afford to be complacent or to imagine that there is not much that remains to be done – for otherwise unwelcome changes may be imposed on us from outside.”