HMCTS monthly bulletin – December 2018

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Issue 7 | December 2018

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Susan Acland-Hood addresses international forum

HMCTS host inaugural international courts forum

International delegates will gather in London today to exchange ideas, forge new partnerships and discuss the cutting edge of court reform at an inaugural forum. Academics, legal professionals and court reform experts will also be attending the two-day event, which is being hosted jointly by HMCTS and the Society for Computers and Law.


Find out more about the forum>>

Courts to pilot more flexible operating hours

Early and late sittings will be piloted in civil and family courts, giving people greater access to hearings that can fit around their busy lives. We’ve also published a prospectus document which sets out the background and model for testing flexible operating hours in Manchester and Brentford.


Read the announcement>>

Find out more information in the prospectus>>

New online service launched for Personal Independence Payment appeals

Appeals about Personal Independence Payment decisions can now be made online after a limited trial revealed high levels of user satisfaction. Rollout of the new digital service in England and Wales will make the application process simpler and reduce uncertainty by enabling tracking of progress.

Find out more in the GOV.UK news story>>

Summary Justice - speeding up and simplifying the system

Over the last year we have made great strides in developing the Single Justice Service so that it is accessible and easy to use for everyone who needs it. This blogs highlights some of these successes.


Read more about it in Mike Logan's blog>>

Engaging with our external stakeholders - our approach and plans

This document describes what we have done over the last year to step up our engagement activities with stakeholders about the reform programme.


Read more about our stakeholder activities and plans>>

HMCTS hosts public event for representative organisations of users of our services

HMCTS held a public event in London, on 6 November, for organisations representing the many different groups of people who use our services. The groups regularly engage with us on the reform programme and this was an opportunity for them to see the progress they have helped us to make over the last year in different reform projects.


Read more about the event>>

Justice Minister chairs roundtable on media access to courts

Newspapers, broadcasters and online platforms discussed open justice and access to courts at a roundtable hosted by Justice Minister Lucy Frazer on 16 November.


Find out more in the press release>>

Reform events programme: new events added and updates to post-event materials about video remand hearings and civil reform

We've added new events to our programme, covering civil and crime aspects of the reform programme. We've also updates our post-event materials from the video remand hearings and civil reform events held on 27 September and 15 October respectively.


Check out the full events programme>>

Full Q&A of the video remand hearings event can be found on GOV.UK>>

Read the Civil Reform online event summary>>

Other HMCTS news

HMCTS names Loughborough as new location for latest service centre

A new centre serving as a base for 200 staff will be created in Loughborough, Leicestershire, from late 2019. Justice services could move there by the end of next year to handle cases, manage queries from the public and professionals, and support the judiciary. It will complement new service centres in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham that are due to open in January. The three sites will employ a total of around 1,000 staff.


Find out more in the announcement>>

HMCTS sign lease for the Civic Centre with Newcastle City Council

A new civil, family and tribunals courthouse will open within Newcastle Civic Centre by 2020. The development will provide a modern, fit for purpose building for local people, legal professionals, judiciary, and courts and tribunals staff.


Read the news story for more information>>

Vulnerable court users in Liverpool to benefit from £5m government investment

Liverpool court users in need of support will be able to access greater guidance and help at the city’s Civil and Family Court. The investment will allow for more people to be supported in a safer, more comfortable environment and is part of HMCTS’ commitment to improving the condition of court buildings and access to justice for all users.


Find out more in the press release>>

Christmas and New Year 2018 closures for courts and tribunals

Details of closure dates for courts and tribunals over the Christmas period.


Find out more online>>

Round up of other news

Professional Entry Scheme: Bar Council app to be tested at five new courts

The Bar Council app, which can be scanned by Court Security Officers, is to be accepted at five additional courts as part of the entry scheme pilot to give its members a digital ‘id card’. Bar Council members who have registered for the app will be able to use it at five additional courts: Chester Crown Court; Nottingham Crown Court; Portsmouth Combined Court; St Albans Crown Court and Swansea Crown Court.


Read more about it on GOV.UK>>

Local courts and tribunals helps to raise the bar on provision of refreshments

We’ve issued new guidance to help courts to be more ambitious and provide better refreshment options. For the first time, the guidance sets a minimum standard – saying that, at the very least, all visitors to our buildings should be able to access a broad selection of good quality hot and cold drinks, even in our smallest buildings.


More information, including examples of good practice, is in the news story>>

Head of judiciary gives evidence to Commons Justice Select Committee on HMCTS Reform

The Lord Chief Justice told MPs that online processes are reducing costs and making life easier for court users. He told the committee that he is confident the HMCTS reform programme will improve access to justice and that digital processes will help to make people's lives easier and reduce costs.


Watch the full recording on>>

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