HMCTS are investing £1 billion in their six-year reform programme to modernise the courts and tribunals system. The programme aims to create services that are digital by default and design including digitising paper-based services, moving cases online, court closures, introducing virtual hearings, and centralising customer services.
The Law Society agrees that a modernised court service and efficient use of technology would benefit all users. However, this must not come at the expense of justice. The system must be open, accessible and affordable. Moreover, those who use the system must be able to get independent legal advice and representation from qualified professionals at the points where they need it. To achieve this, we are engaging with HMCTS to ensure our views and the views of our members, and the needs of clients, are fully considered in the development of proposals and design of reformed services.
Solicitors are integral in shaping the HMCTS programme which will fundamentally transform the role of a solicitor in any type of litigation - from corporate firms to high street firms - and we must ensure it works for them. To assist with this, we are working with our policy committees and the wider legal community to ensure we understand what aspects of the programme cause concern, so we can try to persuade HMCTS to address those concerns.
To help you understand and adapt to the changes, whether welcome or unwelcome, we will keep you informed of developments, be a trusted source of insight and guidance, and notify you of upcoming HMCTS events including roadshows, workshops, online events and research sessions, which we encourage you to engage in.
The government has announced today that the Flexible Operating Hours pilot will commence in spring 2019.
The Law Society has welcomed news that the MoJ has scaled down a pilot project to extend court opening hours.
In this podcast, Catherine Reed speaks to Dr Olumide Adisa and Sue James about the impact of the court closures by HMCTS.
Information about the series of events HMCTS is hosting to support the changes brought in by the HMCTS court reform programme.
Information and guidance to help you understand and adapt to the HMCTS reform programme to modernise the courts and tribunals system.
HMCTS are conducting research on video hearings and the legal professional user experience as part of the court modernisation programme.
Party Conference season is well underway, with the Liberal Democrat and Labour Conferences taking place over the last two weeks, and the Conservative Conference currently happening in Birmingham.
HMCTS are hosting a free online event on video remand hearings from 13:00 to 14:00 on Thursday 27 September.
A key parliamentary committee has criticised HM Courts and Tribunals Service's attempt to modernise the courts and tribunals system.
Yesterday in the House of Lords, the Law Society's Executive Director of External Affairs, Robert Khan, gave oral evidence to the Lord Liaison Committee's review of Lords' committees and made important points on pre and post legislative scrutiny and the role of the committees in examining secondary legislation post Brexit.
If you have any queries regarding the court reform programme or would like more information on member engagement, please contact Valerie Robertson or Emily Weidner.
How did a tiny group of regional lawyers keep hold of their local court provision? The Civil Litigation Section asked Edward Cooke.