The MA has submitted a response to the HMCTS consultation 'Fit for the future: transforming the court and tribunal estate', which can be found here.
The MA supports the aims of the Reform Agenda, which are to improve efficiency to ensure a just, proportionate and accessible justice system, and welcomes the use of technology to assist with achieving those aims. We have serious concerns, however, that more court closures and increased use of technology as a default will fundamentally undermine the fairness and effectiveness of the system. Closing courts and relying on video link technology to allow people to access hearings limits the local justice that magistrates volunteer to provide. The MA believes more research is needed to fully understand any negative impacts on fair participation and therefore the legitimacy of the system as a result of removing physical access to hearings.