HMCTS has today published an overview of how operations have been maintained across the civil, family and tribunals courts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication also details the progress that has been made to safely increase capacity to deal with outstanding cases and sets out plans of how HMCTS will continue to deliver justice services for all users in these areas.
Over the past six months, HMCTS has put in place measures to help the civil and family courts and tribunals recover as quickly as possible. There are five key pillars of recovery on which our approach in these areas is based, and we are integrating our planning across all of them. These pillars include:
- maximising the capacity of the judiciary to sit as many sitting days as possible
- re-opening our courtrooms where it is safe to do so as quickly as possible and reinforce this capacity with COVID Operating Hours and Nightingale courts where required
- ensuring remote hearings continue to be effectively supported with increased staff support and guidance for users
- increasing our staff numbers to support delivery as we adapt to new ways of working
- continuing to build online services in areas such as probate and divorce and working with the judiciary to pilot new approaches, which saves administrative time and frees up judges to hear more cases.
The measures we have taken over the last six months will enable us to respond quickly to any further changes in restrictions, should they be required as part of the government’s ongoing response to the pandemic.
Today’s publication follows a recent £80m investment in the courts system to meet the unprecedented challenge presented by the pandemic.
This will fund the employment of 1,600 new staff to support the recovery, with more temporary Nightingale Courts and technology to boost capacity.
Meanwhile, a major £153 million investment across the courts system announced in July 2020 will speed up technological improvements and modernise courtrooms.