Research and Policy
James Sandbach looks at the trend in money claims, based on data compiled for the Ministry of Justice by the Registry Trust
Author: James Sandbach, Director of Policy and External Affairs, LawWorks. "About a month ago I was privileged to have a sneak preview of the “Beta” sites that HMCTS officials have been working as part of the Court modernisation programme to digitise much of the court process and administration. Justice Minister Oliver Heald brought officials along to the House of Commons for a private briefing of MPs, as the Prisons and Courts Bill was about to be launched in Parliament. Despite having been involved in much of the discussion about “Online Courts” since the Briggs Review and the subsequent Ministry of Justice paper on “Transforming our Justice System,” I wasn’t quite clear what to expect, but after the preliminaries about customer journeys and the political words about improving the justice system for everyone, we finally saw a demonstration of what the new processes will look like.
The Law Society has recently produced new tools designed to help law firms and in-house teams develop the capacity and strategic presence of pro bono work to improve access to justice and meet unmet legal needs. The Law Society launched it’s Pro Bono Charter in November 2016. The Charter is a statement of commitment that firms and in-house teams can endorse and is a public commitment to support pro bono. It offers a great opportunity to highlight your law firm or organisation’s pro bono work. By signing the Statement of Commitment, your law firm or organisation is demonstrating its commitment to improving access to justice for those individuals and organisations who have legal needs and are ineligible for legal aid and unable to afford to pay for legal services.
HMCTS delivered a useful presentation at a recent LawWorks roundtable event. The 10 minute talk provided an quick overview of the Court Modernisation Programme and other aspects of Change Programme. Here is the presentation.
Communication in Family Court: Financial Remedy Proceedings from the Perspective of Litigants in Person
Network member, Dr Tatiana Tkacukova from the School of English at Birmingham City University, has shared with us the findings of her research into communication in the family court. Her paper looks at the obstacles LiPs experience during financial remedy proceedings, a process original designed by legal professionals for legal professionals. She evaluates different options for empowering lay people involved in legal proceedings and argues for the need to provide more specific support for different stages of family proceedings.
OpenJustice (hosted by OpenDemocracy) have recently published a series of articles focusing on the issues affecting people’s ability to seek a remedy through the courts: to stand up to bullies and protect themselves against the powerful. The series looks at why access to justice matters, the impact that the legal aid cuts have had and possible solutions to the access to justice crisis.
This blog from HMCTS provides regular updates about news and upcoming changes to their services. Find out more about how each change is progressing and how it will affect you.
PSU regularly conduct small-scale ‘spot surveys’ of PSU clients across our network on topical issues. In July 2016, they conducted a survey to gather information to help inform proposals for online courts. To consolidate the findings, they re-ran the survey in October 2016. "The over-riding message is that the main barriers to using online court services are more about the legal system than about online access per se: people find the system complex and are fearful of making mistakes when the outcomes can have a significant impact on their lives."
Findings from a quantitative survey of adults’ experiences of legal problems in England and Wales by the Ministry of Justice. First published 3rd March 2017.
The Litigant in Person Judicial Engagement Group provides the HMCTS Reform Programme with views from the advice and pro bono sectors in the development of the HMCTS reform programme. Here is a summary of the Group's meeting held on 23rd November 2016.
Published on 8th February 2017, "Justice Matters" is a paper setting out how the change programme will make services better for users.
Network members continue to be closely involved in the government’s court reform programme, and the move to online courts in particular. Responses to the most recent consultation can be found here.
The Lord Chancellor has announced that the LASPO review will commence shortly.
The Litigant in Person Judicial Engagement Group provides the HMCTS Reform Programme with views from the advice and pro bono sectors in the development of the HMCTS reform programme. The Group covers the Civil, Family and Tribunal jurisdictions and is mindful of the increasing number of LIPs in criminal courts.
This article by Amnesty International, published in Open Democracy, summarises Amnesty’s yearlong research into the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) on access to justice in the UK.
The Welsh Government has just published an Information and Advice Plan, working together with the National Advice Network and others. It sets out how they aspire to work together to improve access to the quality assured services which people need. Published December 2016.