Are our courts fit for purpose?
We asked over 500 solicitors about their experiences in courts and tribunals.
Around two-thirds (64%) of respondents had experienced delays in cases being heard within the past 12 months, due to the state of the court.
Over 30% did not feel physically safe while attending court and 28% told us the courts were “not at all fit” for purpose.
Common technology issues include:
- unreliable wifi / connection problems
- trouble logging into the system with double-factor authentication
- glitches playing media
- lack of consultation about introducing new tech
When asked about poor experiences, the five most mentioned courts were:
- Snaresbrook Crown Court
- Birmingham Magistrates Court
- Isleworth Crown Court
- High Wycombe
- Central Family Court
Disabled court users are even less likely to feel physically secure or safe from harm while attending court.
This group were more likely to feel that the court’s physical building (37%) or the technology provided (27%) were not fit for purpose, compared to those without a condition (28% and 21% respectively).
Positive court experiences tended to focus on court staff, both when there are adequate numbers working and with staff described as “friendly”, “helpful”, “efficient” and “experienced”.
Buildings more likely to receive positive feedback included:
- modern or purpose-built courts and buildings that have benefited from significant investment
- clean / well-maintained courts
In October 2022, there were 63,121 cases in the courts backlog.
To help clear this queue by allowing more sitting days and speeding up cases, solicitors suggested:
- increasing staff numbers – from judges to admin support
- reopening closed courts
I want to know more
We’ve come up with some fresh ideas for practical, affordable changes to our civil justice system that will enhance access to justice and could save the system £72 million over a five-year period.
Explore our ideas and join the conversation