Proposed revision of the Supreme Court Rules – Law Society response

We’ve responded to the Supreme Court UK (UKSC) consultation on proposals to revise the Supreme Court Rules.

The proposals

The UKSC has embarked on a three-year change programme, which includes:

  • the delivery of a new case management system
  • new websites
  • upskilling of staff
  • updating its processes and ways of working

As part of the programme, the court has developed a case management system, known as the portal, designed to deliver an end-to-end service to all court users.

The purpose of the portal is to make the submission and management of a case more intuitive, efficient and modern, enhancing access to justice for users.

The Supreme Court Rules have remained the same since 2009. However, the court’s ways of working have moved on considerably since then.

The consultation proposes to introduce new rules that reflect current ways of working, the introduction of the portal and implementing statutory requirements.

Our view

We welcome the change programme, specifically the development of the portal, which is intended to improve users’ ability to learn about, interact and file cases with the UKSC and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC).

We acknowledge the need to revise the Supreme Court Rules to reflect this.

Through our engagement with the HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) court reform programme, we have had the opportunity to identify key factors which we believe should be acknowledged in future waves of court modernisation and digitisation to ensure it meets the requirements of the public, and solicitors who help them, so access to, and delivery of, justice is being achieved.

For example, in summer 2023, we surveyed over 700 solicitors who have used three new online portals for courts and tribunals.

It was found that, rather than supporting the delivery of a more efficient justice system, online portals were associated with delays.

We believe the following should be considered in the UKSC change programme to avoid similar issues:

  • strong collaborative working between users and stakeholders on the development of “the portal”
  • accessible information and training on the use of “the portal”
  • robust communication system with clear routes for urgent matters

Next steps

The consultation closed on 17 May 2024.

Read the full consultation (PDF 370 KB)

We look forward to working with the UKSC and JCPC on these proposals.

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