Small claims disputes are annoying, so this startup launched a platform to solve these disputes without going to court. When will other countries get a platform like this?
Navigating the court system in any country is tedious and confusing. There are specific protocols that must be followed, lawyers and fees that need to be paid and judges that sometimes speak in legal jargon that you make you wonder about what language they are speaking.
A Swedish startup is looking to help people avoid the lengthy and expensive court process by allowing them to conduct arbitration completely online. The company, Swift Court, on July 3 launched its platform that promises to solve almost any small claims dispute within six weeks time.
“Swift Court lowers the barrier for individuals and small businesses to take advantage of their rights,” Swift Court’s CEO Johan Hedén Hultgren said in a statement in Swedish on the company’s launch. “By using Swift Court’s arbitration clause you can secure all your contracts and ensure that disputes will be solved.”
In the government court system, arbitration can take up to a year and it comes with a SEK2,800 (US$409) application fee. On top of that, parties must pay for filing further documents, hiring personnel and can lose hours to attending meetings and sessions relating to the case.
To avoid courts with Swift Court, both parties must agree to the arbitration. When a dispute arises, one party can use Swift Court to request that the dispute be resolved via its platform. Once both parties agree and complete certain forms, the correspondence begins. For four weeks both parties can explain their side and why they believe they are correct, online, at their leisure. Uses can upload evidence and materials, obtain legal advice and assistance while completing an application.
After four weeks, three arbitrators are appointed to begin their investigation. The arbitrators have two weeks and then will publish their judgment on Swift Court’s website. The verdict is directly enforceable because both parties agreed to the arbitration initially.
Swift Court’s goal is to become the first choice for resolving disputes for small amounts of money. The startup also recommends inserting clauses into contracts that state that any arising conflict will be resolved on Swift Court, therefore eliminating the need to get agreement from an opponent after a dispute arises.
Swift Court has a sliding scale of what it costs, including a fixed fee to the arbitrators and an administration fee based on the value of the dispute. For a dispute valued at SEK2,000, it costs SEK1,660, making the platform seem hardly worth the money. Dispute values can go up to SEK250,000, for which the fee is SEK14,060, and definitely worth it, to be paid by the initiating party. With its recent launch, Swift Court has promised to solve its first 100 disputes free, so if you are in Sweden and have an issue, now is the time to solve it.
Small claim disputes are always a pain, so hopefully Swift Court can expand to new countries soon. Or even better, if we could do jury duty online, that would be even better.
Photo credit: Shutterstock, gavel on a desk