News story

Improvements to Common Platform for defence professionals

Additional features to make Common Platform easier for defence professionals to use.

We’re adding features to Common Platform and making improvements to the way legal professionals search for case details, check in for hearings, and access and complete essential forms.

Since Monday 30 January 2023, legal professionals will have seen a number of system improvements, which include:

  • quicker and easier check-in process for court hearings – the same screen can be used to check-in as prosecution or defence
  • updated case details section, including a timeline, pleas and case results
  • easier switching between cases for defendants you’re representing
  • details for all defendants you’re representing in a multi-defendant case in one place
  • view any client applications and their status more easily (including related material)

When viewing the new timeline section of the Case Details screen, you may also see 2 additional links – ‘Manage hearing’ and ‘Trial effectiveness’. These links are associated with future functions that have not yet gone live, and clicking on them currently has no effect. We will activate them in due course with the addition of the appropriate features.

Easier searching for case details on Common Platform

We’ll soon be making it easier for defence professionals to find and access Common Platform case details.

To find the defendant’s case details you will need to enter their:

  • first name
  • last name
  • date of birth
  • hearing date

If these details match against a case, Common Platform will take you directly to the case details. You can then make a declaration to confirm you have been instructed or appointed to access the case details and represent the defendant.

For the majority of cases, you will no longer need to enter the unique case reference number (URN). You will only need to enter the URN to find a case if:

  • the defendant’s details match against more than one case in Common Platform
  • the hearing date you’ve entered does not match the case details

If you do not know the URN, you can get it from:

  • the public court list on the day of the hearing
  • your client’s charge sheet or postal requisition
  • the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre, by calling 0330 808 4407

If you still cannot get the case reference, contact the relevant Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) office.

Accessing and completing essential forms

We will soon be publishing an online version of the Preparation for Effective Trial (PET) and Better Case Management (BCM) forms. Common Platform users will be able to enter this data online.

The system will automatically generate a PDF document once each file is finalised in court and add it to the case material section.

Multiple users will also be able to access and view the forms at the same time. A main benefit of Common Platform – enabling all the parties with accounts in a criminal case to access the same case information.

Read our guidance on how defence professionals will be able to access and complete PET and BCM forms.

This change will go live as part of the process of linking up Common Platform with the Crown Prosecution Service  case management system. Further improvements are scheduled to take place later in 2023.

Register for our webinar for defence professionals on Wednesday 22 February 2023 to find out more about our work to deliver Common Platform in criminal courts, and to see a demo of these new features.

Help and guidance for defence professionals using Common Platform

Get started using Common Platform to view and manage case details, or read our guidance to find out more about using Common Platform effectively.

You can also join one of our regular online support sessions for defence professionals. We hold the sessions on Tuesdays at 4:30pm and Thursdays at 9am. Email us for details on how to join.

Published 1 February 2023
Last updated 10 February 2023 + show all updates
  1. Amended due to change in date for introducing new functionality.

  2. First published.