£1Bn HMCTS Court Reform Deadline Extended To 2023
Following feedback from the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have delayed the completion date of plans to overhaul, modernise and improve the courts system.
The £1 billion project is now expected to finish in 2023, a year longer than the original completion date.
HMCTS referenced the recent changes to online probate and divorce processes, claiming that these amendments and digital improvements are providing ‘quicker and easier access to justice for many.’
Despite the completion delay, HMCTS have claimed that their reforms have already improved:
- A pilot of fully-video hearings in the tax tribunals.
- The national implementation of a new in-court system to record the result of cases digitally and instantly.
- A pilot of a new digital system providing shared case information in criminal cases to the police, Crown Prosecution Service, courts and legal professionals.
- A Civil Money Claims service with more than 51,000 claims made since it first launched in March 2018, with the fastest claim being lodged and paid under two hours. Almost 90% of users say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the new service.
- An online Divorce Service, with more than 31,000 applications made since it launched in April 2018. The online form takes half as long to complete as the paper form, and has reduced the error rate.
- Online Probate Service with more than 12,000 personal applications made since July 2018.
- We opened two new Courts and Tribunals Service Centres in Stoke and Birmingham in January 2019, which are dealing with digital cases in the Single Justice Service, divorce, Social Security and Child Support and some probate services.
- Support to help people use online services if they choose to.
The HMCTS press release commented: “The reform programme is both essential and ambitious. It will transform the administration of justice by shaping it around the needs of its users, and we are determined to deliver it effectively in the interests of all.
“With the leadership of the government and the judiciary, the HMCTS Reform Programme is increasing the accessibility and efficiency of the justice system by shaping it around the needs of those who use it.”