The Justice Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the access to justice implications of the HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) court modernisation programme, including the increasing use of technology and court closures.
We would strongly encourage our members to look at the questions in the terms of reference (see below) and to submit their own evidence to the committee. We recommend particular attention on the following areas:
- the flexible operating hours pilot
- the civil money claims online project
- court closures in your area.
The deadline for submissions is Monday 11 March.
Terms of reference:
- What will be the likely effects of the reforms, both implemented and proposed, on access to justice in relation to civil justice?
- What are the effects on access to justice of court and tribunal centre closures, including the likely impact of closures that have not yet been implemented; and of reductions in HMCTS staffing under the reform programme? For users, how can online processes and video hearings be a sufficient substitute for access to court and tribunal buildings?
- Have the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS consulted effectively on the reforms and maintained sufficient communication, with the legal professions and the advice sector?
- Have the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS taken sufficient steps to evaluate the impact of reforms implemented so far, including those introduced as pilots; and have they made sufficient commitment to evaluation in the future?