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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.

  • Government gives beleaguered criminal legal aid services reprieve from additional working hours trial

    The Law Society has welcomed news that the MoJ has scaled down a pilot project to extend court opening hours.

    16 November 2018
    Press release

    Court reform programme criticised by parliamentary committee

    A key parliamentary committee has criticised HM Courts and Tribunals Service's attempt to modernise the courts and tribunals system.

    20 July 2018
    Press release

    'Cart before horse approach' to strategy over court closures challenged by Law Society

    The number of magistrates' and county courts facing closure is set to increase after the government unveiled a fresh round of proposed closures as part of its ongoing modernisation programme.

    19 January 2018
    Press release

    Consultation then evaluation - Law Society calls for clarity over Flexible Operating Hours

    The quality of legal representation for anyone accused of wrongdoing in England and Wales will be damaged significantly by new cuts to defence solicitor fees.

    25 October 2017
    Press release
  • 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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