Court and Tribunal reforms Contents

4Court and tribunal buildings

89.HMCTS spends around £400 million a year on running the court and tribunals estate. Its programme to consolidate the estate has focused on closing buildings assessed as being underused or in poor condition, in favour of sites in better condition with modern facilities in locations that allow a better match between capacity and demand. HMCTS, which was established in 2011, explained that it:

inherited a physical estate developed by different organisations over a long period of time. Many of our buildings had long been underused, or were inappropriate for modern use, and many towns and cities hosted a number of buildings. […] As a result, our estate has been expensive to run and hearings have been held in buildings not fit for a 21st century justice system.142

HMCTS uses proceeds from the sale of court buildings to help fund reform projects. According to the NAO, receipts from sales have contributed more than 22% of the total cost of reform programme.143

90.There are two phases in the estates reform programme, the first of which involves disposing of sites where there is capacity for work to be handled elsewhere. The second phase largely depends on successful delivery of other reform projects and on moving cases out of court and improving efficiency.144 Between 2010 and 2018, 162 of 323 magistrates’ courts closed along with 90 of 240 county courts, 28 of 83 tribunal buildings, 17 of 185 family courts and 8 of 92 Crown Court buildings.145 The following map indicates the impact of closures on distances to the nearest magistrates’ court.

Figure 2: Change in distance from output area to nearest magistrates’ courts, England and Wales: 2010–2018

Source: HC Library Briefing Paper CBP 8372, Court statistics for England and Wales (November 2018)

91.In its progress update on the court reform programme, the NAO noted that HMCTS has “scaled back and delayed its plans to close further sites”, having reduced the indicative number of future disposals from 96 to 77 sites. Future closures will depend on the extent to which HMCTS can reduce demand “by moving hearings out of court and improving efficiency”.146

Impact of court closures

92.Most of the extensive evidence we received on court closures, including from judicial office holders and their associations, argued that closures had had an adverse effect, in urban as well as in rural areas where there are more obvious travel challenges.147

Views of judicial office holders

93.The Lord Chief Justice acknowledged that “the physical extent of the court and tribunal estate is a matter for ministers, not the judiciary.”148 He emphasised that ministers decide on court closures only after consultation, making decisions against published criteria. Highlighting negative impacts in many different regions of the country, the Association of HM District Judges was particularly concerned about the decision to close five county courts in Greater Manchester, leaving a single hearing centre for the whole city that caters for all cases within a 30-mile radius.149 In addition, they argued that the planned introduction of a new flexible listing system in the remaining court (with 22 courtrooms shared between 27 District Judges) would undermine judicial health and morale. The Association also expressed concerns about the closure of Rotherham county court, which has led to work being transferred to Sheffield; analysis of attendance figures showed that 41% of Sheffield tenants turned up for housing possession hearings, compared to 30% of tenants from Rotherham—a train journey of only 15 minutes from Sheffield.150

94.The Association’s observations on court closures were endorsed by the Council of HM Circuit Judges, which stated:

Physical court buildings are necessary unless and until appropriate alternative working systems are in place that ensure that access is not reduced (this will include appropriate provision for members of the public who wish to access the courts but do not have the relevant equipment or are digitally excluded in some other ways).

95.The Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate), Emma Arbuthnot, was particularly worried about the impact of court closures on rural areas. She commented:

Whilst metropolitan areas have accessible public transport systems, the same cannot be said of other parts of the country. Currently defendants and witnesses end up travelling great distances to attend court. Some may be deterred from attending completely. Video link hearings will address the issue of court closures but only if this is from accessible locations and if video equipment works as it should.

96.Concerns were also voiced by the lay magistracy. The Magistrates Association said that the option to attend court in person should always be made available, and thought that “[a]ccess to justice is not just a geographical consideration. The cost of travel must also be considered, with defendants on low incomes disproportionately affected.”151 The Magistrates’ Leadership Executive observed that “courts have been closed before the promised safe satellite places have been fully developed and able to be used.”152 They also considered that getting to a Family Court hearing centre up two hours away presented “serious difficulties” for families faced with child care responsibilities, poor public transport and schooling commitments, and commented:

Add to this those that are not digitally competent and some will be put off or give up making or resisting an application for seeking access to their children.153

Views of other witnesses

97.Among non-judicial witnesses, there was consensus that closure of court and tribunal hearing centres posed threats to access to justice. The Criminal Law Committee of Birmingham Law Society commented:

The reduction in court buildings has undoubtedly increased travel and associated cost for parties in proceedings before the Magistrates’ Courts. The impact disproportionately affects those in lower socio-economic groups. […] Disincentives to the attendance of defendants or witnesses interfere with the rule of law.154

Likewise, the Crown Prosecution Service was concerned about the impact of court closures on victims and witnesses and thought that this might lead to an increase in non-attendance—although its own management data had not shown this risk materialising so far.155 Victim Support feared that court closures could lead to victims and witnesses travelling further to attend court, potentially having to share long public transport journeys with the defendant and their supporters, especially in rural areas with infrequent buses. Gerwyn Wise from the Criminal Bar Association said that “more and more people are talking about witnesses not turning up and cases being dropped as a result.” He also thought more defendants were failing to appear, so that “police resources are being wasted on chasing people who are not going to court.”156

98.The impact of court closures on police time required to support victims and witnesses was highlighted by Detective Chief Inspector Craig Kirby from Thames Valley Police. In his area, victims and witnesses were facing longer travel times, particularly because of the closure of two local magistrates’ courts, including the combined magistrates’ and county court at Banbury.157 All parties now had to travel to Oxford city centre (a 30-mile journey) for a 10 am start, which he described as “very challenging”.158 He went on to say:

Because of public transport issues, we are seeing a lot of work having to go into delaying hearings, negotiating with the prosecutors and then liaising with the court. At times, cases have to be adjourned because victims and witnesses are simply unable to get to the court at the right time.159

99.Thames Valley Police also told us that, following the closure of Banbury Combined Court, HMCTS had moved traffic cases from Banbury to Oxford. This had had a direct impact on police resources because the organisational approach they had adopted was based on managing these cases at Banbury. Echoing the concerns of Gerwyn Wise, they thought there was likely to be an increase in defendants who fail to appear at the first court hearing, which would mean police resources being required to locate these individuals.160

100.Some witnesses drew attention to unusually lengthy journeys to court that would result from certain closures, such as that of Northallerton Magistrates’ Court.161 The Ministry of Justice/HMCTS consultation on this closure indicates journey times of up to three and a half hours from Northallerton town centre to courts that might be expected to receive the Northallerton cases.162 Harriet Bosnyak from Shelter told us that, following the closure of the county court in Morpeth, people facing eviction who live 10 or 15 miles north of the town have to travel south to Newcastle; bus travel to the city is “expensive” and “takes a very long time” and for these vulnerable people the journey is a forbidding prospect:

they have to go to a city that, believe it or not, they do not know very well; they do not go there very often. They have to find their way not just from the bus stop but down to the county court on the quayside, and navigate their way through the building, too. It makes an incredibly stressful situation even harder, which is why we see quite large levels of non-attendees.163

The Housing Law Practitioners Association (HLPA) supported this view. Many of its members’ clients have mental and/or physical disabilities and, for them, a long journey to an unfamiliar area—usually undertaken on public transport—is extremely difficult. Other clients have caring responsibilities which make the journey challenging for them.164 Shelter’s written evidence observed that, if a tenant defending possession proceedings was not able to attend court in person, this was likely to lead to their becoming homeless—with implications for public services, including the local housing authority, social services, and the Department for Work and Pensions.165

101.There were also examples of court closures being followed by more closures in the same area, so that work was relocated more than once. Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre said that, although their local county court had been closed only two years, the receiving court in Wandsworth was now facing closure too; cases were likely to be relocated to courts much further away in Clerkenwell and Kingston. They pointed out that the majority of their housing possession cases involved clients on welfare benefits who are “already on reduced or no income and are often using foodbanks”. These clients did not have the money to make long and expensive journeys across London.166

102.In the experience of HLPA members, the closure of some court centres had led to other courts being “overwhelmed” when business was transferred to them, leading to floating lists and adjournments of cases.167 In a joint submission, Rhona Friedman, Sue James and Simon Mullings, all from the legal advice sector, argued that courts had been closed at least in part on the “false premise” that court buildings are under-utilised; they had heard from HMCTS officials that utilisation rates were based on information obtained from court ushers, which they considered unreliable. They reported that the court manager at Brentford County Court was not allowed to list hearings in three empty courtrooms as she did not have the funds to employ Deputy District Judges.168

103.Resolution’s survey of its members asked for views on court closures. Of those who responded, 49% said that courts they had historically used for family cases had been closed; many said that their clients’ travel time to court had increased by 30 minutes to two hours each way.169 Jo Edwards from Resolution pointed out that, where solicitors incur additional travel costs to a more distant court, these costs are passed on to their clients.170 When giving evidence previously to PAC on the court and tribunal reform programme, Ms Edwards described the regional impact of the planned closure of Chichester combined court on family cases:

According to one of my colleagues in Chichester […]the court has been massively under threat and there has been fighting, or I ought to say discussion, going on for three years about the future of the provision there. In the meantime, some of the cases are already being shipped off to courts 80 miles away. We are hearing stories of people who just cannot make a half-hour appointment over in Brighton or Hastings when they have childcare responsibilities. So our predominant concern is access to justice.171

104.The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives referred to the impact on access to justice of what they described as premature court closures; they considered that court buildings act as “justice hubs” in their local communities, and are “the setting where out of court settlements are agreed, pre- and post-hearing meetings with clients take place, and people receive information and access to wider community services.”172 Families Need Fathers expressed a similar view about the value of court corridors in assisting dispute resolution in family cases.173

105.We received less evidence on the access to justice impact of closing tribunal hearing centres. The Free Representation Unit, which provides representation at tribunal hearings, concluded that it was premature to close centres before assumptions had been tested about the take-up of digital services; the organisation was concerned that “access to physical spaces has been removed before alternatives are … established as providing effective access to justice.” It noted “extensive delays” in listing tribunal hearings, and that outstanding caseloads were rising.174 IPSEA thought that there were already access to justice pressures in the SEND tribunal system, caused by the lack of hearing venues and the capacity of administrative staff, as well as the year-on-year increase in the number of SEND appeals.175

Evaluating the impact of court closures

106.Witnesses criticised HMCTS’s failure to evaluate properly the effect on users of proposed court closures, or to consider the impact of closures that had already taken place.176 HMCTS does not hold comprehensive data on court users, but assumes that their characteristics reflect the populations local to the proposed closures.177 The EHRC pointed out that HMCTS had not assessed the impact of recent closures on groups such as women caring for young children, nor had it assessed the potential impacts on children and young people—for example, arising out of the closure of Youth Courts.178 Similar concerns were raised by the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society.179 The EHRC noted that the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) requires public bodies to consider whether they have sufficient evidence to consider effectively the impact of proposals on people with protected characteristics:180

bodies must determine where there are gaps in their evidence base and identify how to address them. This could include collecting new sources of data, engaging with people with certain protected characteristics, or using external sources of information.181

107.The only academic study on the effect of court closures of which we are aware examined the impact of closing Bury St Edmunds magistrates court and one other in Suffolk, leaving the county with only one magistrates’ court, in Ipswich. The research found that court users faced more costs in time and money, including overnight hotel stays to attend court. More warrants for “failure to appear” were issued.182 Informal relationships between the court and defence advocates were weakened, as was magistrates’ local knowledge.183

108.Court closures in urban and rural areas have created serious difficulties for many court users, with worrying implications for access to justice. We recommend an immediate moratorium on further court closures pending robust independent analysis of the effect of closures already implemented, with a particular focus on access to justice.

The condition of court and tribunal buildings

109.Many witnesses told of concern about the dilapidated state of court buildings. In January 2018, the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS accepted that maintenance of buildings in the courts and tribunals estate had been spread too thinly, with funding focused “almost exclusively on reactive responses to problems” rather than putting in place a programme of planned maintenance. At that time, the estimated maintenance backlog was around £400 million and HMCTS had started a programme of building surveys to obtain accurate data on the extent of disrepair and the cost of putting it right. It was also seeking to improve its response to routine maintenance by appointing 320 “building champions” who would provide a single point of contact for facilities management contractors.184

110.The Lord Chief Justice told us:

The condition of the estate feeds into difficulties at every level. First, and importantly, it seems to me completely unreasonable to expect members of the public who have to visit courts for all sorts of reasons to have to put up with dilapidated and uncomfortable buildings, and buildings that are, frankly, an embarrassment, as I have put it before. Secondly, it is not reasonable to expect the staff of HMCTS and other public servants who have to work in the courts to endure those conditions. Neither is it reasonable to expect the judges to do so.185

111.Evidence to our inquiry supported this assessment. Dennis Fuller JP told us of a courthouse that suffered from excessive heat “because the ancient boiler system cannot be reprogrammed.”186 Jo King JP referred to “the enormous backlog of essential maintenance that the court estate needs in order for it to be fit for purpose and safe to work in.”187 Young Legal Aid Lawyers reported that, last winter, heating control in both Manchester and Bradford Immigration and Asylum Chamber (IAC) hearing centres was so inadequate that users had to wear coats and use space heaters. They commented:

Vulnerable appellants often giving evidence of previous torture and their fear of being killed if returned home should not have to appear in such conditions, nor should the representatives and judges responsible for the demanding task of ensuring they receive a fair hearing.188

112.Some commented on poor facilities in court buildings. Victim Support said a number of courts have “special measures” screens that do not ensure the privacy and protection of victims and witnesses and that, in the majority of courtrooms, TV screens cannot be moved to ensure the privacy of those giving evidence. The organisation considered it vital that separate spaces were made available for defendants and victims in all criminal courts, including separate entrances, toilets and waiting areas.189 Women’s Aid criticised the lack of protection equivalent to special measures in the criminal courts for those involved in civil proceedings; the organisation said survivors of domestic abuse can often feel highly unsafe while on the court estate.190

113.Disabled facilities were also raised as an issue: Dr Jenny Birchall from Women’s Aid said that one disabled survivor of domestic abuse had had to wait seven hours before she could use the bathroom, because facilities in the court were not accessible.191 Dennis Fuller JP told us that one of his courthouses had no toilet with disabled access—in spite of the bench having a disabled magistrate—while another toilet remained permanently locked because there is no money for the “significant repair” required.

114.We agree with the Lord Chief Justice that it is wholly unreasonable to expect judicial office holders, HMCTS staff and external court users to put up with dilapidated and uncomfortable court buildings. We are alarmed by evidence that disabled facilities are not reliably available in court buildings. We recommend that HMCTS accelerate its programme of building repairs, if necessary by increasing its maintenance budget, and that it adopt more ambitious management standards for routine maintenance work in court and tribunal buildings.

Travel time to court

115.The “Fit for the future” consultation included proposals for a new court and tribunal “design guide”.192 It also presented a modified approach to the travel standard used to determine decisions on court and tribunal locations: that nearly all users should be able to attend a hearing on time and return within a day.

116.We wrote to the Minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP, on 27 February 2018, questioning the proposed travel standard, for which no convincing policy justification had been offered, and pointing out the potential indirectly discriminatory impact on older people, women with young children and people with mobility impairments. We expressed concerns about virtual hearings increasingly taking the place of physical access to hearing centres, in the absence of any evaluation of pilot projects.193 Ms Frazer said she would ensure that these points were taken into account as part of the decision-making process following the consultation.194

117.On 10 May 2019, over a year after the consultation closed, HMCTS published the Government’s response.195 It revised the principles that it will apply when considering any further reductions to the court estate, making them “stronger, and provid[ing] greater assurance that, when we make changes to our estate, we maintain effective access to justice, provide value for money to the taxpayer and make sure that our courts and tribunals are as efficient as possible”.196 In summary, in relation to user access to courts, the revised principles provide that:

118.Annexed to the Government response is an independent review of HMCTS estates strategy by Professor Martin Chalkley of the University of York, who examines HMCTS’ analysis of court capacity. Professor Chalkley argues that the accuracy of the model used to estimate capacity is only one criterion for judging it; its relevance to the real world of court processes may be more important. High-capacity operation is not necessarily “cost effective”: for example, hospitals with high bed occupancy rates have been found to lead to increased infections, cancelled operations, and wasted time and resources when patients have to be moved between wards. He expresses concern that attempts to reduce the costs of the court estate may in fact increase the costs of delivering justice overall.198 Responding to his report, the consultation response stated that HMCTS would not close court buildings in anticipation of workload reductions, only when there is clear evidence to support the closure; it will aim to consult on a proposed closures in good time “where we see evidence that patterns are changing, and that a building is ceasing to be needed, and could reasonably be closed without reducing access to justice.”199

119.The consultation response included an assessment of what the new travel benchmark means for users of the current court estate. The analysis was based on Google travel time data and census-based population areas, and looked at the proportion of people in England and Wales who are able to get to and from their nearest court (taking into account closures that have been announced) by car or by public transport. The table, reproduced below, shows the proportion of the population who can arrive at different types of court by 9.30am, 10.30am and 11.30am by public transport leaving no earlier than 7.30am; and who can arrive home by 7.30pm when leaving the court at 3.30pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

Table 1: Travel time to court

Source: Response to ‘Fit for the future: transforming the Court and Tribunal Estate’ consultation. HMCTS, May 2019 (P13)

120.The Lord Chief Justice thought the new travel benchmark for future court closures had brought “greater clarity about the parameters to be applied.” He recognised that a relatively small number of people would find travelling to a tribunal or court hearing very time-consuming; however, he did not doubt that the Government had struck a balance “to try to achieve a proportionate outcome in circumstances where, as we have to recognise, money is far from limitless.”200 The then Secretary of State, Rt Hon David Gauke MP, defended decisions already taken to close “underutilised” court buildings, explaining that the Government had a responsibility to use resources carefully. He pointed out that HMCTS analysis suggests that changes to the estate since 2010 have made only a marginal difference to travel times. He continued:

no other round of court closures is imminent, but we always have to ensure that we use our resources sensibly. We have to take into account the fact that people will make greater use of technology that does not mean that they are necessarily going to be physically present, as has been the case in the past. We have to ensure, within our very strong desire to make sure that people can attend when they need to, in a reasonable way, that we use our resources effectively.201

121.By contrast, John Bache JP, the Chair of the Magistrates Association, described the 12-hour window as “a huge timeframe” and pointed out that, unlike in London, public transport may not be available in places such as Cornwall, the west of Wales or Northumberland; many people do not have private transport.202 Gerwyn Wise from the Criminal Bar Association thought that inadequate consideration had been given to those who would need extended childcare, or to other vulnerable court users:

There are people with other caring responsibilities. There are people with low incomes. How are they paying for this travel? There are people with physical disabilities that mean that long journeys are near impossible. There are people with mental health difficulties.203

Jo Edwards from Resolution observed that, as well as time, the cost and complexity of the journey was important. She spelled out the implications of the new travel benchmark for people with children:

If they have childcare responsibilities and school runs to do, it is not practical […] If you are in a 10 am listing, there is an expectation that you are at court by 9 am, so that you can have negotiation, discussion and conciliation. I am not sure quite how that is going to work with a 7.30 to 7.30 test.204

122.Wendy Rainbow from IPSEA said that, at present, the SEND tribunal tries to list hearings within two hours of parents’ travel time; many had children with serious health issues and complex health needs and any extension of that time would cause huge problems. Sara Lomri from the Public Law Project pointed out that a recipient of ESA whose benefit is regularly reviewed may well have to travel to the tribunal every year. The impact of poverty on the costs of travel concerned Lisa Wintersteiger from Law for Life, who regretted the apparent lack of assessment of the costs of travel, the viability of transport or “the real-time challenges that people have.”205 Penelope Gibbs from Transform Justice thought that applying the new travel benchmark would mean “closing half the magistrates courts in our country.” She drew attention to the implications of a potential 12-hour day for people with physical or mental disabilities or learning difficulties, as well as children and young people.206 She was also worried about the impact on witnesses:

We have to remember as well that, in criminal, we are asking witnesses to give up their own time. Frequently, they come to court, it is not ready and they have to come back another day. That is four hours in a day.207

123.As part of the reform programme, HMCTS is currently piloting flexible court operating hours in Brentford County Court and Manchester Civil Justice Centre “to test whether operating courts and tribunals at different times of the day offers more open and accessible justice for citizens.” The pilot involves court sessions that start at 8am and others that close at 7pm.208 Richard Miller from the Law Society questioned whether this had been considered in the assessment of the travel times. He asked:

Does it mean, for example, that, instead of having to leave home at 7.30, we are now saying that people would have to leave home at 5.30 to get to court in time, and would not get home until 11.30 at night? Insufficient account seems to have been taken of the interaction of different strands of the programme.209

124.Notwithstanding the possibility of “mitigations”, application of the new HMCTS travel benchmark to potential future court closures could create access barriers for an unacceptably high proportion of court users, including many who live in poverty, who have caring responsibilities or who are otherwise vulnerable.

125.We recommend that HMCTS adopt a revised travel benchmark: that the overwhelming majority of users should be able to reach their nearest court or tribunal hearing centre within 1.5 hours by public transport. No user should be expected to leave home earlier than 8.00 am or return home later than 6 pm and, where necessary, courts and tribunals should be willing to adapt their sitting times to accommodate this. HMCTS should consult on how it will take into account the cost and complexity of journeys to court in addition to travel time.

Supplementary provision

126.“Supplementary provision” is the term used by HMCTS to refer to court sessions held in non-traditional venues. The Fit for the Future consultation response noted that respondents generally supported the use of supplementary venues, provided suitable security was provided and the dignity of the court preserved. The response concluded that some civil, tribunal and non-contested family hearings would typically be the most appropriate for hearings in non-traditional buildings, together with lower-level criminal cases; however, custodial cases would not be appropriate.210 The document went on to set out HMCTS policy for assessing the appropriateness of supplementary provision: for example, the venue must be appropriate (that is, maintain the integrity of justice and the dignity of the court); it must meet minimum security standards; it must be cost effective; and it must be accessible.211

127.In 2016, the national charity JUSTICE published the report of its working party that looked at the question What is a court? The report called for reconception of court and tribunal rooms as ‘justice spaces’, designed to adapt to the dispute resolution process taking place within them and the needs of users, rather than the other way around. It also called for a flexible and responsive court and tribunal estate, including “pop-up courts”.212 In oral evidence, Jodie Blackstock of JUSTICE spoke positively about the potential for supplementary court venues, suggesting it was only in cases involving defendants remanded in custody that traditional court rooms were needed:

The only important ingredient you need for a court hearing for the vast majority of cases is two entrances and exits, so the judge can go out one way and the public and witnesses can go out another. You have to think about the design of it to keep witnesses and parties apart, and you have to think about vulnerabilities and tensions between the parties and how they get into the building, of course, but that can be arranged in a flexible space.213

128.In June 2019, we published the report of our follow-up inquiry into the role of the magistracy, which was agreed after publication of the Government response to its Fit for the Future consultation.214 The inquiry had heard evidence on the potential for supplementary court venues, and we concluded that—apart from limited pilot projects—there had been little progress in developing these since the Committee’s 2016 report on this issue.215 We recommended:

The new principle for identifying supplementary venues is a valuable starting point, but we recommend that HMCTS take urgent steps to put this principle into practice, with a particular focus on locations where court closures have had the greatest impact.216

129.We recommend that HMCTS adopt a clear strategy for establishing and using supplementary venues, including a default position that supplementary venues be established in every area where there has been a court closure in the past 10 years.

130.To support transparency and consistency of approach, we recommend that the suitability of supplementary venues for different types of case be subject to published judicial guidance.

142 HM Courts & Tribunals Service (CTS0064)

143 National Audit Office, Transforming courts and tribunals – a progress update, September 2019 (para 2.1)

144 National Audit Office, Transforming courts and tribunals – a progress update, September 2019 (para 2.2)

145 House of Commons Briefing Paper CBP 8372, Court Statistics for England and Wales, 27 November 2018

146 National Audit Office, Transforming courts and tribunals – a progress update, September 2019 (para 3.9)

147 As the ‘Fit for the future’ consultation response was not published until May 2019, we did not receive written evidence commenting on the revised principles for further court closures.

148 Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (CTS0078)

149 Manchester Law Society - Civil Litigation Committee (CTS0004) thought that HMCTS had under-estimated journey times across Manchester by assuming direct routes were possible.

150 The Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges (ADJ) (CTS0084)

151 Magistrates Association (CTS0031)

152 Magistrates` Leadership Executive (CTS0017)

153 Magistrates` Leadership Executive (CTS0017)

154 Criminal Law Committee - Birmingham Law Society (CTS0033)

155 Crown Prosecution Service (CTS0074)

157 Thames Valley Police (CTS0028)

160 Thames Valley Police (CTS0028)

161 Including the Equality and Human Rights Commission (CTS0075) and The Criminal Bar Association (CTS0063)

162 Note that these estimates do not include travel time from the outskirts of Northallerton to Northallerton town centre.

164 Housing Law Practitioners Association (CTS0090)

165 SHELTER (CTS0062)

166 Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre (CTS0083)

167 Housing Law Practitioners Association (CTS0090)

168 Rhona Friedman, Sue James and Simon Mullings (CTS0085)

169 Resolution (CTS0051)

172 Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CTS0049)

173 Families Need Fathers (CTS0088)

174 Free Representation Unit (CTS0080)

175 IPSEA (CTS0041)

176 For example, Bonavero Institute of Human Rights (CTS0024); Disability Rights UK (CTS0015); Junior Lawyers Division (CTS0013); Standing Committee for Youth Justice (CTS0036)

178 Equality and Human Rights Commission (CTS0075)

179 Junior Lawyers Division (CTS0013)

181 Equality and Human Rights Commission (CTS0075)

182 Preceding the closures, warrants for failure to appear issued for defendants based in the area of the closed court were only 2.7%, but post-closure warrants issued had risen to 12.8%.

186 Dennis Fuller JP (CTS0057)

187 Mrs Jo King JP (CTS0025)

188 Young Legal Aid Lawyers (CTS0069)

189 Women’s Aid (CTS0006)

190 Magistrates Association (CTS0031)

195 Response to ‘Fit for the future: transforming the Court and Tribunal Estate’ consultation. HMCTS, May 2019. The consultation attracted nearly 250 responses. Alongside the consultation response, HMCTS published its guide to the design of courts and tribunals, setting out its vision, principles, and minimum standards for refurbishment and new building projects.

196 Ibid, page 5

197 Ibid, page 6

198 Ibid, Annex C

199 Ibid, paragraph 7.22

206 The impact on child defendants of lengthy journeys to court was also mentioned by the Standing Committee for Youth Justice (CTS0036)

208 Flexible Operating Hours Pilots: Prospectus for Civil and Family Court Pilots Justice matters. HMCTS November 2018. Several submissions to the inquiry were critical of the flexible hours model, suggesting that it created practical problems for solicitors and had potentially discriminatory impact on particular clients: for example, Manchester Law Society , Crown and Magistrates Committee (CTS0012); Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre (CTS0083); Manchester Law Society - Civil Litigation Committee (CTS0004)

210 Paragraphs 3.21 to 3.23

211 Ibid, paragraph 3.28

212 JUSTICE, What is a court? 2016

Published: 31 October 2019