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.
The Law Society has responded to the Home Office's consultation on pre-charge bail.
We're keeping the coronavirus situation under review and will provide regularly updated advice and sources of information for our members.
Instructions for the rescheduled cloud video platform training session on 4 June.
HMCTS has published an organisational risk assessment and assessment tool which will enable them to regularly review the safety of their buildings.
We have written to the President of the Family Division on guidance for remote hearings in family courts.
We've responded to the Civil Justice Council's consultation on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) measures on the civil justice system.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) hopes to fund improvements to the court system, such as new digital services, by selling under-used court buildings.
A jury trial working group has been considering ways to resume jury trials safely in the wake of coronavirus.
The HMCTS is reviewing the probate service due to the impact of coronavirus.
Susan Acland-Hood, Chief Executive HM Courts & Tribunals Service, discusses the challenges and changes to courts during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you have any queries regarding the court reform programme or would like more information on member engagement, please contact Emily Weidner.
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