Government gives solicitors £120,000 to help clear evictions backlog in courts

New government funding to explore how technology can help dispute resolution should reduce the backlog of court cases, including possession hearings.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has been awarded £119,691 from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as part of the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, to launch a project working with Access to Justice Foundation and the Law Society.

It will study ways to increase the use of technology-enabled dispute resolution to help resolve legal issues across England and Wales, without the need to go to court. The project launches in September 2023.

SRA chief executive Paul Philip says it will look at the potential barriers and benefits to using digital and online platforms. He adds “We welcome this important opportunity to work with our partners to support people in resolving their legal issues without having to use the courts.

Court system

“This has the potential to make a real difference for individual consumers, saving them time and money, as well as relieving pressure on the court system, which benefits the wider community.”

The Ministry of Justice recently noted that about 68% of civil court users would prefer to avoid court unless as a last resort.

Last month, the Law Society warned that spending cuts in the justice system could leave it facing collapse, hitting possession hearings and impacting homelessness help. It cited the civil division – encompassing eviction proceedings – as a particular concern.

In July, the government vowed to speed up the evictions process for landlords by improving admin around bailiff enforcement activity and bringing in new technology as part of the courts and tribunals service reform programme.

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