Access to justice impacts of court and tribunal reforms examined

Justice Committee inquiry

Lady Justice statue against stormy sky

The Justice Committee has launched an inquiry into the access to justice implications of the reform programme, including the increasing use of digital and video technology and the closures of courts and tribunal hearing centres.

Proposals to move to a justice system where cases are resolved online

The inquiry follows on from the July 2018 report of the Public Accounts Committee into Transforming Courts and Tribunals which focussed mainly on the deliverability of the reforms and their financial implications. The £1billion package of reforms announced in Transforming Our Justice System sets out proposals to move to a justice system where cases are increasingly resolved online.

As most readers will be aware, alongside this move to increasing use of online processes and video hearings, the courts and tribunals estate is being reformed, including through closures of courts and hearing centres, with the government's stated overarching aim being to increase access to justice while making the system more efficient overall.

The Committee's inquiry will consider the progress made with the reforms so far and the implications of planned changes, particularly in relation to access to justice, about which there are clear concerns as voiced by the MA in our evidence to the Public Accounts Committee in May 2018.

The Committee is interested in evidence of the effects and potential effects of the HMCTS reform programme on access to justice, as well as the management of the reform process and invites written submissions – using the written submission form – addressing all or some of the terms of reference, by Monday 11 March 2019.

The MA will be submitting evidence to this inquiry. If you have any comments that you would like to contribute to our response, please contact Policy and Research Assistant Hattie Stair.

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