HMCTS engage parliamentarians on reform programme

Image of HMCTS CEO speaking to an audience.

Members of Parliament and lords gathered today to discuss improvements to the justice system that HMCTS aims to deliver as part of its reform programme.

HMCTS hosted the event to raise awareness and understanding of the programme amongst parliamentarians. Project leads presented service developments across the civil, family, tribunal and crime jurisdictions.

The event provided the opportunity for attendees to interact with the new online processes, from applying for a divorce to paying for probate.

Attendees also heard from Justice Minister Lucy Frazer QC MP and Susan Acland-Hood, CEO of HMCTS, who addressed the audience on the significance of the reform programme in relation to the future of the justice system.

Lucy Frazer Justice Minister said:

We’re delighted to have this opportunity to showcase progress with the £1bn reform programme, which is led by the judiciary and the government.

With easy to follow online forms, complete with comprehensive, user-friendly guidance, the reform programme can make the pursuit of justice, previously an intimidating minefield, truly accessible to all.

Susan Acland-Hood, HMCTS CEO added:

For me, the absolute core principle behind HMCTS reform is that it is about making our system better for the people who use it.

We’ve got to design everything we do, not just by imagining what we think a user might want, but by asking them directly, by showing them demonstrations, by testing them and then by learning – not just from what people tell us – but from what they do when they start to work the systems.

Attendees were particularly interested to hear about changes to the HMCTS estate and the new single case-management system called the common platform, which will be accessible by the police, Crown Prosecution Service, HMCTS and legal professionals.

So far, the court reform programme in England and Wales has:

  • piloted fully-video hearings in the tax tribunals
  • implemented a new national in-court system to record instantly the result of cases digitally
  • piloted a new digital system sharing case information in criminal cases to the police, Crown Prosecution Service, courts and legal professionals
  • launched a Civil Money Claims service with more than 51,000 claims made since it first launched in March 2018, with the fastest claim being lodged and paid under two hours. Almost 90% of users say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the new service
  • launched an online Divorce Service, with more than 31,000 applications made since April 2018. The online form takes half as long to complete as the paper form, and has reduced the error rate
  • launched an Online Probate Service with more than 12,000 personal applications made since July 2018
  • opened two new Courts and Tribunals Service Centres in Stoke and Birmingham in January 2019, which are dealing with digital cases in the single justice service, divorce, social security and child support and some probate services
  • provided support to help people use online services if they choose to

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