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Civil Litigation Section

'We're not replacing judges', says HMCTS as reform cost-benefit published

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Delegating more judicial duties to court staff is expected to save almost £6m a year, government documents have revealed.

An impact assessment published this week alongside the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill showed HMCTS will secure benefits worth £13.7m from widening the role of authorised court staff.

Judges will be the ones deciding what it’s appropriate for authorised staff to do - this is about helping them, not replacing them

Susan Acland-Hood, HMCTS chief executive


Employees will take on tasks previously completed by the judiciary, such as case progression work and case management, in the Crown Court, civil jurisdiction, family jurisdiction and tribunals.

Additional costs are estimated at £7.9m from training staff, leaving net benefits of £5.8m.

The legislation was given first reading in the House of Lords this week and is expected to be the first of several law changes facilitating the £1bn courts modernisation programme due to be completed by 2022.

Responding to one query on Twitter, HMCTS chief executive Susan Acland-Hood said: ‘Judges will be the ones deciding what it’s appropriate for authorised staff to do - this is about helping them, not replacing them.’

The document suggests the bill will ‘remove the post of justices’ clerk from statute’, although it is unclear whether this will result in clerks’ roles disappearing altogether.

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