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This blog post was published under the 2010-2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Civil claims: putting the user first

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Courts and tribunals

My name is Daniela and I have just started work as a new product / service manager in the digital team, working on civil court claims online.

My first two weeks in the team have been very exciting. It's been a whirlwind of meeting lots of great people at MOJ and GDS, and learning how the judicial system works.

My goal as a product manager is to utilise principles for user-centred design, drawing on my experience working for start-ups in London and Boston ( and Black Duck Software) and large companies in the UK and the US.

It is common sense that user needs should be the driver for how our online services work, yet thorough user research is one of the most overlooked steps in product development. This is usually because it takes time and because we like to think that we already know the user (we don't until we meet them and see how they think and function).

This brings me to the key ‘exemplar’ service I am working on with the courts and tribunals service - the ability to file court claims online instead of on paper forms. These claims could be for money you’re owed, or to repossess a property (as a landlord or a mortgage-provider).

There are some tools that exist today – with the cryptic names MCOL and PCOL – which perform a portion of these types of claims. However, they could benefit from a stronger take-up and could be improved and expanded to cover more steps of filing a claim and responding to it.

Content designer Graham Lee and I were in a user experience (UX) test lab last week and had the chance to observe our customers using Money Claim Online. It was illuminating to hear in their words what confused them and what could be done better.

I am looking forward to more interaction with end-users to unearth their needs. Ryan Behrman is working with me on this service as a delivery manager to make sure that we deliver improved services on time and within budget.

If you have made a money, possession or other type of civil claim (online, or using a paper form) or are expecting to do so, it would be great to hear from you. We want to know what worked and what didn't, and what you want to see us doing better.

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  1. Comment by Jonathan posted on

    The last time I had to use it, I found a) the guidance was very limited. I had to call the clerk for advice. b) it would have been much better - and would be better overall, were it possible to get the low-income court fee waiver for MCOL claims. Many such potential claims come from individuals like myself who have small financial resources. It seems counter-intuitive to bring in a system whose purpose is to enable individuals to claim without the hassle of going to court, but effectively preclude many of those who could most benefit from it, from doing so.

    • Replies to Jonathan>

      Comment by Daniela Tzvetkova posted on

      Jonathan, thank you for your feedback. You make a very valid comment. We'll look into incorporating the low-income court fee waiver into the money claim online service.


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