If you are currently owed £10,000 or less and wish to take action against the person or organisation that owes you the money, you can do so through the small claims process MCOL Money Claim Online.
In a bid to modernise the system, MCOL was introduced in 2002.
However, from 11am on 14 January 2019, the online civil money claims pilot will be extended to allow all single litigants in person to issue civil money claims of up to £10,000 online against single defendants.
The amendments to the pilot scheme extend the scope of the online system to deal with different responses to a claim by a defendant, including part admissions, part defences and offers to negotiate.
There will be an affordability calculator to electronically calculate repayment terms. The calculator applies a formula to information provided by the parties to establish what rate of payment a defendant is likely to be able to afford.
The amendments that come into force on 14 January are very lengthy, as they set out the procedure for multiple potential outcomes in responding to a claim.
Given that the aim of an ‘online court’ is to simplify the rules and modernise the processes, it is interesting to see the rules in this case becoming more extensive and complex. Perhaps in due course, some of the process can be moved out of the rules and into a user guide.
It is understood that the online service will undergo further development in 2019, being gradually expanded to include claims with multiple claimants and defendants, then claims where parties are represented.