Remove cost from the Court system

Suggested clause:

Courts will be free at the point of use, paid for by Government, for all matters that are not considered vexatious.

Original wording:

At the moment poorer people must get legal aid, richer people have access to manipulative lawyers and justice gets lost somewhere in the middle. So I think we need two changes to support a fairer system:

1. No cost at point of use for the courts. If you want to go to court, it should be free so long as your case is not shown to be vexatious (a measure already used in law); and

2. In order to ensure that Courts are not wasteful (wasting jurors' time, wasting victims, perpatrators and witnesses time) there should be a fee paid by the government for all cases reviewed to the Court. Not-for-profits, charities etc. could then run a parallel court which is reviewed in the same way as the current system. Whichever is more efficient would then receive the people's foot-fall.

The point about being "reviewed in the same way" is important: We could not allow this to be a way for religions to create a court system that ignores the law.

edited on Apr 15, 2015 by Emma McNulty

Emma McNulty Apr 11, 2015

Dear Contributors,

We are now halfway through the refining phase and would like to remind you of the new features available to every contributor at this stage. Now, you can add, amend or withdraw votes already cast, and this is very important for us to ensure ideas truly reflect your preferences.

We would like contributors to please suggest ways that the idea owner can improve and refine this idea and would invite the idea author to think about how they wish to incorporate the comments made (including those in the previous stage) into their idea. Don't hesitate to message the facilitators (myself and Suki) if you have any questions about this stage of refining the idea. 


Emma McNulty Apr 15, 2015

As we near the end of this phase and there has been no clause suggested for this idea, I have incorporated the comments from the previous phase into the wording of this idea and would ask everyone to please comment further as to whether this would be a suitable clause. As all earlier comments were in support of the first part of this idea, but opposed the idea of a second court, I have not included such a parallel court in the above clause.

John Z Apr 15, 2015

What type of case is considered "vexatious"?  And who would define it?

Richard Durkin Apr 16, 2015

An online jury of volunteers could decide?

John Z Apr 16, 2015

That is too random and vague.  

Richard Durkin Apr 16, 2015

Random is good. 

Vague?  Has someone already suggested an online jury?  I thought they had. 

Certianly, I understand that online courts are already being considered for the UK.

Seems like a quicker way to decide vexatiousness.

Scott Wilson Apr 16, 2015

Besides the point that frivolous should be added to vexatious. How is it proposed to pay for this? There are costs in deciding what is vexatious.  Making anything "free" results in an increase in demand and the likelihood is an enormous increase in demand for court time, judges and of course the legal profession either gets nationalised or is a significantly subsidised profession.  Otherwise, the court system ends up facing enormous delays for cases, such as in Italy, where it can take seven years for cases to progress.  That isn't justice.

I understand the desire for universal access to services based on making everything free, but what this would do is mean all commercial cases are now taxpayers funded.  Cases involving literally millions of pounds of disputes, are "free".  Even individuals suing in cases of damages or divorce, would get it "free".  

Is the intention really that a dispute between businesses have costs paid for by taxpayers, including appeals?

As a way of going forward, it has parallels to proposals about enshrining legal aid, which is all very well and meets a lot of the purposes of this.  It would appear that this is an extension of it.  Unless the intention truly is to nationalise the legal sector, in which case it stays as it is and I'll oppose it.

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Richard Durkin Apr 16, 2015

I had understood that the courts only would be free.  Not necessarily the lawyers.  Legal Aid itself causes delays and is easily opposed by manipulative lawyers.