HM Courts and Tribunals Service will be piloting early and late sittings in civil and family courts from September 2019.

The pilot will begin on 2 September 2019 in two civil and family courts in Manchester and Brentford. An independent evaluation will be carried out before any decisions are made about a further roll out.

The pilot will run for six months and test:

  • whether civil and family buildings can be used more effectively
  • the benefits of enabling people to attend court outside usual sitting hours (between 10am and 4pm), and
  • what more flexibility means for legal professionals and staff.

Evaluating how the flexible hours pilot is working 

In June 2019, the government published an evaluation framework which will help determine whether the pilot has been successful. Indicators include those relating to:

  • efficiency of use of court rooms
  • speed of and access to justice
  • working lives of legal professionals (solicitors, barristers, court staff and judges)
  • experience of public users
  • costs.

The Law Society will continue to sit on the Evaluation Advisory Group panel, providing expertise and guidance to the evaluators throughout the pilot period.

Find out more about the pilot and how it will be evaluated