Extended timetable for court reform

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has listened to feedback from our members and extended its timeline for court reform.

HMCTS is extending the timeline of its reform programme to consider:

  • organisational capacity
  • pressures on operations
  • feedback from staff and partners
  • long-lasting impacts of the pandemic
  • outstanding cases
  • rising cost of living

The adjustments to the reform programme aim to boost efficiency and functionality of existing technology and provide a more consistent and reliable service for public and professional users.

“HMCTS is making sensible decisions about prioritising work given the dual challenges of delivering the court reform programme and tackling the huge court backlogs,” our president Nick Emmerson said.

We have previously warned of the importance of not rushing development.

Extending plans means the process may take longer to develop but will avoid costly errors and rework in the long run.


The completion date for development of the overall programme has been extended from March 2024 to March 2025.

Criminal programme

HMCTS is revising plans for delivering additional functionality in Common Platform, the principal case management system in the criminal courts.

The platform has received over 1.3 million cases since going live in 2020.

HMCTS is focused on enhancing the existing system and improving stability – improving the experience of those who use it.

HMCTS will not continue with two releases but will continue with some standalone elements that have already been built, specifically:

  • the introduction of digital cracked and ineffective trial forms
  • the functionality to allow judges to validate sentences

HMCTS will also retain the Crown Court digital case system – DCS. They will identify ways to enhance it in the future while making sure it works effectively alongside Common Platform.

Civil, family and tribunal programme

HMCTS will continue to deliver key priorities for 2024, including:

  • enabling parties to make general applications within existing claims
  • updating the Online Civil Money Claims service so litigants in person (LIPs) can issue and respond to claims where a legal professional is involved
  • providing the ability to request a warrant of control after obtaining judgment
  • making services available to those with claims above £25,000

Implementation activity will continue throughout 2025 for civil reform.

Improving court estates

HMCTS had made progress on property developments such as:

  • a newly refurbished site in Leeds which includes new employment tribunal rooms
  • business and property court hearing rooms
  • construction of the City of London’s state of the art courthouse – comprising civil, magistrates and crown courtrooms

£220 million funding will be used to enhance the maintenance programme between 2023/25 and will make sure HMCTS is able to deliver more than 200 improvement projects across England and Wales.

This will improve the resilience, reliability, accessibility, comfort and environmental impact of court and tribunal buildings.

What we're doing

Our president, Nick Emmerson, meets regularly with Nick Goodwin, chief executive of HMCTS, to raise your feedback.

We’ll continue to monitor the progress of reforms and encourage HMCTS to collect robust data and feedback from court users.

If you have questions or concerns that you’d like us to raise, email hmctscourtreform@lawsociety.org.uk.

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