The MA's final response to the Justice Select Committee (JSC) inquiry into the Court and Tribunal Reforms programme is now available. Thank you to all the members who contacted us to raise concerns; we incorporated collated views into our final response, which highlights concerns about the potential risks to access to justice linked to some of the plans around increasing digitisation of the justice system.
The £1bn package of reforms announced in Transforming Our Justice System sets out proposals to move to a justice system where increasingly users will be expected to access the system digitally. The JSC inquiry follows on from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) July 2018 report into the same issue. Where the PAC focused on the deliverability of the reforms and their financial implications, the JSC will focus on the access to justice implications of the reforms.
While the MA supports the aim of making the justice system more efficient overall, we reiterate our concerns that, in relation to some of the proposals, efficiency is being prioritised over ensuring a fair and just system. We continue to call for consideration as to how the most vulnerable will be able to access a fully digital system and for research to be carried out to identify potential negative consequences before proposals are introduced.