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.
We are encouraging members to attend this face-to-face event focusing on the modernisation of tribunal processes for appealing government decisions.
We are encouraging members to get involved with HMCTS' event on the move of the digital divorce service to the new Courts and Tribunals Service centre.
We are encouraging members to attend this face-to-face event on the crime area of the HMCTS reform programme to learn how it may affect you.
An overview of our successes in our Access to Justice campaigns this year.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service will be conducting a small-scale video testing pilot in Birmingham and Manchester civil justice centres.
Are you actively involved in cases that require court appearances? HMCTS are holding a workshop to explore how to improve the scheduling and listing process.
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.
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.
Book your place at the Civil Litigation Spring conference 2019, taking place on Wednesday 1 May at the Law Society, London