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Court reform

  • 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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    Court closures - what's changing?

    HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) hopes to fund improvements to the court system, such as new digital services, by selling under-used court buildings.

    8 November 2019
    Policy

    Reassurance that probate backlogs are reducing

    We attended the Birmingham Courts and Tribunals Service Centre to review HMCTS' progress in addressing delays to the probate service.

    18 October 2019
    News

    Queen's Speech response from the Law Society - "victims need a system capable of delivering justice"

    The Queen's Speech announced 26 pieces of legislation for the next parliamentary session, with crime emerging as a domestic priority for the government.

    14 October 2019
    Press release

    Changes to court working hours

    As part of the court reform programme, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is piloting early and late sittings in civil and family courts.

    11 October 2019
    Policy

    Can technology unlock justice for all?

    Emily Weidner and William McSweeney discuss whether technology is the key to improving access to justice and what barriers could impact this.

    1 October 2019
    Audio

    Online probate service for legal professionals

    HM Courts and Tribunals Service is rolling out a national pilot for probate that will enable legal professionals to access the online service.

    30 September 2019
    News

    Law Society seeks clarity around probate delays

    We met with HMCTS again for an update on the delays to the probate system. Find out what they're doing to improve the probate service.

    11 September 2019
    News

    Law Society reviews delays to the probate service

    We met with HMCTS again to review how they have been addressing the issues impacting the probate service since we last met.

    19 August 2019
    News

    Justice - a train ride too far? The (not so) hidden cost of court reform

    Sue James, solicitor at Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre and a specialist in housing law, dissects some of the key concerns surrounding the court reform programme including court closures, tech issues and funding.

    29 July 2019
    Blog

    HMCTS publishes evaluation framework for flexible operating hours pilots

    The government has published an evaluation framework for the upcoming flexible operating hours pilots, which are due to begin on 2 September 2019.

    23 July 2019
    News
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  • Contact us

    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.

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