Government pilots new civil damages claims service

On 28 May 2021, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) launched a new damages claim service.

Woman holding tablet, one hand on her neck
Photograph: Teona Swift

In this first release, HMCTS will test the service with nine claimant law firms over three months, before extending it to a wider audience.

The new service will accommodate Part 7 damages claims for single-party claims (where there is one claimant and one defendant).

The pilot is supported by a new practice direction (PD 51ZB).

What this means for legal professionals

The new service will allow legal professionals to:

  • issue a claim
  • provide an acknowledgement of service
  • inform the court of any agreed extension to file the defence
  • respond to a claim
  • provide information for a directions questionnaire

After the directions questionnaire, cases will be managed in the usual way under the Civil Procedure Rules.

In the long term, the government's goal is to create an end-to-end transformed digital service for claims in the county court, from pre-action to enforcement.

Why you should get involved

Brett Dixon, chair of our Civil Justice Committee and member of the Damages Committee, has been working with HMCTS on this project.

He says: “This is a well-thought-out and resourced pilot that will be a springboard for further developments. It is well worth claimant and defendant practitioners engaging with the project as it provides a tech-based way of issuing and responding to court proceedings on behalf of clients and to provide valuable feedback as the project moves forward in other aspects of the court journey.”

How to get involved

Although the service will initially be piloted with nine claimant law firms, any defendant firm can register for the service and respond to claims issued by one of the nine pilot firms.

In order to use the new damages claims service, you’ll need to be signed up to MyHMCTS, the online case management tool for solicitors and other legal professionals, managed by HMCTS.

HMCTS encourages as many legal professionals as possible to sign up to MyHMCTS.

Find out more about MyHMCTS and how to register

Engaging with HMCTS on online damages claims

HMCTS has held various stakeholder events with both claimant and defendant law firms. These events, held jointly between HMCTS and the judiciary, provide more information about the current service and plans for the future.

If you missed the pre-launch events, you can watch the recordings below:

If you’d like more information about the service or have any questions, email damagesclaims@justice.gov.uk.