In 2016 the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals launched a court reform programme (HMCTS reform programme) intended to modernise and upgrade the justice system. As a result, you can now save time and money with online applications, claims and appeals.
However, the reform also entails the closure of several buildings, and some people are reporting longer commutes to get to court. The plan has also come under the radar of the National Audit Office for implementation delays.
In January 2018, in response to a written question, Justice minister Lucy Frazer confirmed the government’s commitment to this model of court modernisation. In May 2018, an official press release presented the Courts and Tribunals Bill as the new legal basis for continuing this reform of the justice system. That gained Royal Assent in December 2018 so is now an Act of Parliament.
This policy is an extension of an initiative which was already in place, and the government is working to maintain it. We’re marking it as ‘done’, and it will stay that way unless it is reversed or scrapped, or the changes are collectively found to contradict the goal of “making it easier for people to resolve disputes and secure justice”. Follow this policy for any updates.
- Reform update Autumn 2018 – HM Courts & Tribunals Service, Gov.uk
- Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Act 2018 – Parliament.uk
- Digital Courts – Unreliable Evidence podcast – BBC Radio 4
- Court closures and reform – Debate Pack – Parliament.uk
- Digitalisation and the courts in England and Wales – Law, Technology and Access to Justice blog