Senior HM Courts & Tribunals Service and Legal Aid Agency officials will need to consider stakeholder views carefully before proceeding to pilot extended operating hours in February 2018.

On 19 October, HMCTS published their latest blog post on flexible operating hours, and prospectus with 19 questions to stakeholders. It sets out the background thinking to the pilot, HMCTS design principles, and four objectives which focus on citizens’ access to justice; impact on court users; efficiency and scalability; and future deployment of new operating models.

We welcome the decision to publish a prospectus and gather stakeholder views. The document provides a much clearer explanation of the reasons for the pilot and HMCTS intentions that was available publicly before.

However, some of the questions raise more concerns than solutions. This would seem the ideal opportunity to request views on a draft evaluation framework and methodology ahead of its publication.

Read the full press release at