News story

Common Platform system tested in criminal courts

New digital case management system to be tested by a series of magistrates’ and Crown Courts from September 2020.

Photograph of a courtroom

The Common Platform provides access to relevant case information for all parties involved in criminal cases, including the judiciary, solicitors and barristers, the Crown Prosecution Service and court staff.

Early adopter courts across England and Wales will test the system before the subsequent rollout to all criminal courts over 12 months. This will begin in Derby and then roll out incrementally to the others in the series.

Criminal courts trialling the Common Platform

  • Derby Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court
  • Bristol Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court
  • North Tyneside, Mid and South-East Northumberland Magistrates’ Courts, and Newcastle Crown Court
  • Warrington Magistrates’ Court and Chester Crown Court
  • Guildford Magistrates’ Court/Staines Magistrates’ Court and Guildford Crown Court
  • Croydon Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court
  • Llanelli Magistrates’ Court and Swansea Crown Court

Benefits for the early adopter courts

The system will make all information about a case, such as charges, evidence and results, accessible digitally to all parties. Access to different kinds of information is securely controlled to make sure that each participant only sees the material that is appropriate to them.

The Common Platform cuts down the need for manual document handling and reduces the amount of paper documents produced. It also removes the need to copy information from one digital platform to another at different stages in a case, improving the way criminal cases are accessed, managed and processed. It will eventually replace the existing software applications: Libra, XHIBIT, Bench, Court Store and Digital Mark-Up with a single, streamlined system.

Amanda Lowndes, Midlands Head of Crime, commented:

We are pleased to have been chosen as the first of the early adopter courts to test the Common Platform digital product: it shows the confidence placed in us that we can successfully rise to the challenge in these uncertain times. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and the commitment they have shown to supporting the testing of this new digital platform.

I’m confident that by providing all the criminal case information in one place, and in a digital format, the Common Platform will help us support all organisations in the criminal justice system.

It will help us to work more effectively together, reduce delays and make evidence sharing easier. We’re very keen to work with our judges and others to test this digital product in our court.

The delivery of training and support to court staff, the judiciary and criminal justice partners in the first of these locations is already underway.

Once the early adopter phase is complete, the system will then be gradually expanded to all criminal courts in England and Wales.

Published 24 July 2020
Last updated 20 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated list of Criminal Coruts trialling the common platform.

  2. First published.