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Is the UK Government Knee Deep in Paper?

Is the UK Government Knee Deep in Paper?

In a week where climate change has hit the headlines with Extinction Rebellion highlighting the plight of the planet in London, Shergroupers can rest easy knowing they have been working on their green credentials for the last 20 years.  Our CEO, Claire Sandbrook, is herself a big recycler and she has implemented all sorts of green initiatives in her tenure whilst leading the company over the last 20 years.  She even picked up on a recent report from her favourite government department – the Ministry of Justice – in its report this week that it had saved “enough paper to cover Central Park” (we think that’s the New York one, and not the one in East Ham, London), not once, but twice. See http://bit.ly/2PnbzjY

The MoJ is looking to raise its own green credentials by saying that its Digital Case System has saved the same amount of paper as the coverage of Central Park or 40 double-decker buses.  Other bizarre facts emerged such as if every piece of paper saved by the Digital Case System was placed on top of one another it would reach a height of 33,500 feet – almost 5,000 feet higher than Mt. Everest. Placed next to one another, the paper trail would stretch from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again 10 times.

Apparently, the system sends a report every night to some nerdy person in the MoJ confirming the sheets of paper it has saved.  The system is said to have reached the milestone of 100 million sheets of saved paper.

We are pleased on one level that a Government department takes such a keen interest in its paper-saving achievements.  But really, we would prefer to see the Minister and policy officials beating their chests on saving the time and effort of litigants involved in the enforcement process.

I mean this is Shergroup’s heritage – so here are some interesting facts about the paper which could still be saved…

  • 100,000 Writs of Control were issued in England and Wales in the last full year
  • That’s 100,000 N293A’s to transfer the county court judgment to the High Court – this is still not an electronic process and the form is two-sided, so it could be much more paper than 100,000 sheets
  • Then there are the 100,000 Writs themselves which have to be issued and sealed in the Court system
  • So now we have 200,000 pieces of paper and that’s not counting duplicate applications, extra pages, and letters to and from Court

HOW TO SAVE A QUARTER OF A MILLION SHEETS OF PAPER

We reckon conservatively that a quarter of a million sheets of paper are used in the transfer up process – and this is a process which could have been digitized right off the back of the Money Claim Online system 20 years ago.  Our CEO was battling for that then, and she is still battling for that now.

Why in 2019 – almost 20 years to the day when the CPR was introduced into the courts of England and Wales is enforcement still knee-deep in paper? Frankly, the lack of political will to improve the lot of those using the enforcement system is staggering.

Apparently, it now takes on average 10 minutes to issue a money claim – which is down from 15 days using the “old, paper-based service”.  The process to transfer a judgment from the county court to the High Court could be half that time if the system were digitized.  Just 5 minutes would do the trick – and it could be an add-on process to the Money Claims Online system.

Claire Sandbrook asked for this 20 years ago – and she is still asking for it now.  So where is it?

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2019-04-24T16:43:00+00:00