News story

Start date announced for extended court hours pilots

Court users in Manchester and Brentford will be able to test the benefits of extended sitting hours from September, HM Courts and Tribunals Service announced today (21 June 2019).

Photograph of empty courtroom
  • Flexible Operating Hours pilots to begin on 2 September 2019
  • Pilots will run for six months in Manchester and Brentford
  • Independent evaluation will be carried out before any future decisions are made

The pilots, beginning on Monday 2 September 2019, will test whether civil and family buildings can be used more effectively. By piloting the use of court hearing rooms outside the traditional hours of 10am to 4pm, HMCTS will test whether this offers better access to justice for people before or after their working day and improves the efficient use of buildings.

The pilots will run for 6 months and consist of late sittings (4:30pm to 7pm) involving both civil and family work at Manchester Civil Justice Centre and early (8am to 10:30am) and late sittings involving civil work only at the County Court at Brentford.

HMCTS announced its plans to test early and late sittings in November last year, to give people greater access to hearings that can fit around their busy lives.

Any decisions about using Flexible Operating Hours in the future will only be made following robust assessment of evidence and data gathered through these pilots and a comprehensive, independent evaluation of the impacts, costs and benefits across the justice system.

For more information, see the Flexible Operating Hours pilots prospectus. and the evaluation plan summary

Published 21 June 2019
Last updated 31 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added link to directions for each site.
  2. Link to evaluation plan summary added.
  3. First published.