House of Commons Library

Court Closures and Access to Justice

Published Tuesday, June 18, 2019

General debate on Court Closures and Access to Justice to be held in the Commons chamber on Thursday 20 June 2019. The subject of the debate was determined by the backbench Business Committee following an application from Bambos Charalambous MP.

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Since 2010 the courts and tribunals estate has changed significantly because of a multi-stage estates reform programme. This briefing provides an overview of those changes and the impact it has had on the provision of courts and tribunals services.

Following the report by Lord Justice Briggs into Civil Courts Structure in 2016, wider reforms of the justice system have been proposed and piloted as part of a “modernisation” project. This has included a focus on alternative service provision and greater use of technology in Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals System (HMCTS). An initial attempt to legislate for a broad package of reforms was interrupted by the 2017 General Election, but since then several pieces of primary legislation have taken-on those proposed reforms.

The Government’s Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill was introduced in the Lords in May 2019. Its Lords Committee stage took place on Monday 10 June. The Bill provides a legislative framework for the Government to make more extensive use of online and online-only court and tribunal proceedings as alternatives to in-person proceedings. The House of Lords Library note on the Bill as introduced is available here.

Commons Debate packs CDP-2019-0156

Authors: Sarah Priddy; Graeme Cowie; Georgina Sturge

Topic: Courts

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