New court to deal with online fraud

New court to deal with online fraud

The Office of the Judicial Administration Commission (OJAC) has established an online shopping division to cope with the rising numbers of online fraud cases.

The formation of the new unit was published in the Royal Gazette on Monday and it became effective on Thuesday.

In announcing the decision, the OJAC said that online shopping had become more popular among consumers, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to the present pile-up of complaints that are yet to be resolved.

According to Digital Economy and Society figures, its hotline received about 2,000 complaints from consumers that related to online fraud each month. The popular channels of online scams are through Facebook and Instagram.

To assist victims of online fraud and to protect the rights of consumers, the civil court said it needed to have an online shopping division to handle the glut of scams. All the pending cases related to internet shopping in the civil court will be processed by the new division.

Most processes related to prosecuting such crimes will also be made electronic although allow plaintiffs to file a case in traditional paper format.

There will be new chief judge assigned to the division, and it will be his or her job to appoint judges who have knowledge and expertise in online shopping for the division. However, where appropriate judges from outside the unit can still preside over that were facilitated by online means.

The chief judge will announce the launch date of the division later, at which point the OJAC will set a budget and working process for ahead of it taking on its new responsibilities.

Cases that are now pending in the consumer court when the online shopping court division is launched will not be moved into the new jurisdiction.

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