Trial the new damages claims service
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is inviting all law firms that handle damages claims to sign up to use the new damages claims service.
In May 2021, HMCTS launched the digital service to a restricted number of users. It is now extending the service to more firms.
The pilot is supported by practice direction 51ZB.
What the new service offers
The new service will allow you to issue a claim for damages against one litigant in person or one represented defendant.
If the defendant’s legal representative is registered for the service, you’ll be able to progress your claim digitally up until the point of providing hearing information, formally known as direction questionnaires (DQ).
In the first release of the service, the digital journey will end at this point and the claim will be referred to a judge for track allocation and directions.
HMCTS has worked closely with the industry to design a service that is “not only an efficient and improved service, but a service that is modern and relevant for this digital era”.
Below are some of the key improvements that you’ll benefit from.
The self-service system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It allows you to:
- create and issue a claim remotely, at any time
- upload documents and evidence to support your claim
- view details and documents provided by the other party – removing the need to contact the court for an update on your claim
- see at a glance the latest activity that has taken place on your claim
More control of your account
The online service allows you to:
- create, manage and maintain your firm’s MyHMCTS account – meaning you do not need to contact HMCTS to add or remove users
- allocate extra litigators shared access to individual claims, to cover annual leave periods or required supervision
There are no restrictions on how many litigators can use the service.
Improved communication throughout the process offers a new transformative approach to delivering civil justice:
- removing the need to print and serve documents
- so you’ll know when something happens on your claim, and if (and when) you need to take any action
To use the service, organisations must be registered for MyHMCTS.
If your firm does not already have an account, read the MyHMCTS guidance.
If you’d like to take part and use the service, send your contact details to Leanne Kershaw (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lesley Macintosh (email@example.com) by Tuesday 31 August.
Next steps and support
Once you register your interest, HMCTS will contact you and arrange to share documents including:
- detailed information about the service
- video demonstration of how the service works
New organisations can also request a one-to-one training session for those required to use the PD51ZB service.
In early September, HMCTS is holding a further webinar to offer new firms an opportunity to view the service and ask questions.
Bespoke sessions can also be offered if required.