MPs hear lawyers roundly condemn ‘cost-saving’ court reforms
The HMCTS Reform Programme has been widely denounced by legal experts - there was a consensus that staff cuts, court closures and the accelerated push for digitalisation are crushing access to justice in many parts of the country
The House of Commons’ justice committee’s inquiry into court and tribunal reforms heard from experts across the legal sector in the first evidence session of the Commons justice committee’s inquiry into court and tribunal reforms. Legal professionals are increasingly concerned by a perceived rush to move the reform programme along without taking stock of those directly affected by it and its unintended consequences, which are only bound to increase if not dealt with swiftly.
Due to administrative failures caused by staff cuts, a modern slavery victim was not able to claim damages from her abuser. Court closures are also preventing people from accessing justice since they now have to travel longer distances to cities they don’t know to attend their hearings. Experts state that the reforms are sacrificing easy access to justice for cost-efficiency and that the proposed solutions have not been properly tested out.