The manual process and paper trail is the same here in Northern Ireland.

I attended court as an “ordinary” witness, over a dispute which turned out to be valued at £200. (I was witness to an event, not the cause of it!) I tried to decline the court visit but was demanded to attend. I turned up, waited six hours only to be told the case would be heard on another occasion. I asked if I could confirm my statement with a judge or police officer in order to avoid having to come back another time. They don’t allow that.

Weeks passed before the case came up again. Another full day off work in order to attend what turned out to be less than five minutes in court.

I’m self-employed so I lost money attending court both days. I was able to claim less than £50 total. The value you can claim for food was less than what it cost to eat a small lunch in the court cafeteria. As an aside, I drink decaf hot drinks so was unable to partake in the free instant coffee offered by the [volunteer-run] witness service. And that court cafe only serves “proper” coffee! Anyway, it would have been more cost-effective for me to pay the £200 myself as I lost more than that by not working.

To add further pain, the case was thrown out by the judge due to lack of evidence of a crime so it should not have made it to court in the first place!