HMCTS are investing £1 billion in their seven-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.
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Emily Weidner and William McSweeney discuss whether technology is the key to improving access to justice and what barriers could impact this.
If you have any queries regarding the court reform programme or would like more information on member engagement, please contact Emily Weidner.
This quality mark is for members who meet the highest standards of expertise and client service in all types of children law work.