Rushed reforms only add to court crisis

Rushed reforms add to the crisis in our courts rather than improving the justice system, we have warned in response to a new report.

The House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has today published a report on HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s (HMCTS) court reform programme.*

The report and recommendations reinforce the points we made in our written evidence and its five-point plan to help fix the chaos in our courts.**

“We share the committee’s concerns about the progress and implementation of the court reform programme,” said our president Lubna Shuja.

“Reform is long overdue but mustn’t be done in a way that adds to the burden on judges, court staff, solicitors and barristers who are already overstretched. Neither should it make the long delays faced by court users worse.

“Feedback from our members has been that the speed of change and the number of changes all at once has been problematic.

“Technology can drive efficiency in courts, however, rolling out unfinished or untested software drives delays and costs, as we have seen with Common Platform. Completion dates of projects still in development should be adjusted so they are realistic and achievable.

“Such projects should only be launched in full once they have been fully tested and evaluated. For example, the online public family law service had functionality issues which led to significantly delayed cases because it hadn’t been sufficiently tested.”

Notes to Editors

• * Read the report

• ** See our written evidence and five-point plan to fix the court backlogs.

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Press office contact: Nick Mayo | 020 8049 4100

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