British courts test tech applications

Courts around the world have been testing high-technology options. In Great Britain, officials launched an application called Money Claim Online that enables residents to file small claims cases through the Internet.

Filers are given a secure identification so they can check on whether their cases have gotten a response, such as an order or enforcement. If a claimant gets a full settlement, he or she receives an e-mail notification, said Perry Timms, customer relations manager for the Civil and Family Modernization Division of the Court Service in London.

Interest in the service has spread mainly through word of mouth. It has been running for 18 months and receives 700 claims weekly, he said. Ninety-three percent of users are individual citizens, especially those who run small businesses, while about 6 percent are lawyers.

Previously, Timms said people would have to find forms, fill them out, deliver them and wait for the administrative process to unfold. He said small claims number about 250,000 and constitute two-thirds of the country's case load.

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