Bar Council Annual Report 2016-17

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Court reform

The Government’s consultation, Transforming our Justice System published in September 2016, outlined an ambitious programme of court reform, including plans for more civil and criminal proceedings to take place online, and for greater use of telephone and video hearings.

The Bar Council engaged critically and constructively with the reform programme – largely through the HMCTS Professional Engagement Groups (PEGs) - and has been clear that its participation in HMCTS’ strategy does not imply endorsement of the programme overall or of any specific proposal. The Bar Council’s work with the PEGs have provided a continuing opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns about a range of major policy initiatives as well as to monitor and influence this important and wide-ranging agenda.

Bar Council representatives, including the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Bar and the Chairs of the Legal Services Committee and Young Barristers’ Committee, have also attended HMCTS workshops and helped to find research participants to test systems such as the forthcoming online divorce and lower-value civil money claims services.

The Bar Council briefed parliamentarians on all sides of the House on the Prisons and Courts Bill and the implications of in-line guilty pleas, and proposed amendments which were debated during committee.

 
 

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