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Civil Litigation Section

Flexible court hours pilot is postponed

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The controversial extended court hours pilot has been deferred until February, the HMCTS chief has announced.

The controversial extended court hours pilot has been deferred until February, the HMCTS chief has announced.

Susan Acland-Hood said she had listened to the concerns of court users and agreed to delay the start of the pilot until there is a ‘robust, independent’ evaluation system in place.

Many lawyers had opposed the plans to have 8am sittings at selected courts and for some hearings to go until 8pm.

‘The strong views expressed reinforce the need for us to proceed on a clear evidence base,’ she said.

‘It’s for that reason that, today, we have agreed to delay the start of these pilots until we are satisfied that we have a robust, independent evaluation system in place; and until we have taken more time to engage and discuss the pilots, picking up on comments made on how they could be improved.’

Acland-Hood revealed the tender process run over the summer to find an independent organisation to undertake the pilot had not ‘delivered a satisfactory outcome’.

This, combined with the negative feedback from many court users who might be affected, had prompted the postponement.

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