Guidance

HMCTS Common Platform account registration for defence professionals

Register for an account to access the Common Platform case management system in early adopter criminal courts.

Common Platform

Common Platform is a smarter and more accessible case management system for HMCTS, the judiciary, and professional court users, including defence and the Crown Prosecution Service.

What is Common Platform?

Check our Common Platform rollout plans

Watch our webinar introducing Common Platform

View the list of courts where Common Platform is operational.

As each court goes live with Common Platform, defence solicitors and barristers will need to register for accounts before any hearings they will attend.

A Common Platform account will enable you to:

  • link yourself to a case or defendant so the Legal Aid Agency is informed for payment purposes
  • self-serve case materials, including the Initial Details of the Prosecution Case (IDPC) and the Pre-Trial readiness form (PET form) in the magistrates’ court
  • serve documents on the court for Common Platform cases in the magistrates’ court

Learning guide for defence professionals

Read the Common Platform learning guide for defence professionals.

How to use Common Platform: Defence Professionals

How to register

Before Common Platform goes live in your area:

  • each defence firm must download and complete a spreadsheet with usernames and details of anyone who needs access, then email this to HMCTS
  • defence professionals need to activate their individual accounts and complete the security set-up process

Watch our video on how to activate your Common Platform account.

video on how to activate your Common Platform account

Defence firms and chambers: account registration form

1. Download and complete a spreadsheet with usernames and details of anyone who may need access.

The spreadsheet consists of 5 pages:

  • complete page 1 in full – we need this information to validate your organisation, including the head office address, LAA / SRA / Bar number, and details of the accountable person
  • complete page 2 with details of all the users who require Common Platform accounts – accounts will be set up once we have validated your organisation
  • page 3 gives the terms and conditions of Common Platform for reference – you need to include a digital signature on page 1 to state that these are accepted
  • pages 4 and 5 are for office use only – do not enter any information

2. Email the completed spreadsheet to CPOnboarding@justice.gov.uk

HMCTS Common Platform defence account registration form (excel)

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email hmctsforms@justice.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

If you are unable to use MS Excel, there is a CSV version of the spreadsheet available:

HMCTS Common Platform defence account registration form (csv)

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email hmctsforms@justice.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Terms and conditions (including acceptable use) for Organisations using the Common Platform

The Common Platform is supplied to organisations in accordance with these terms and conditions contained within it. Signatories to these terms and conditions confirm that they are fully aware of responsibilities in relation to the use of the Common Platform. In particular, they confirm that:

  1. Users in the organisation they represent have a legitimate need to use the Common Platform.

  2. Users in their organisation will comply with data protection legislation including (without limitation and to the extent applicable): the Data Protection Act 2018, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive; relevant privacy regulations (including ICO codes of conduct); and all professional codes of conduct by which we are bound and that all information transmitted through the Common Platform is treated accordingly. They acknowledge that any breach of these provisions may result in their organisation’s access to the Common Platform being suspended or terminated.

  3. Users in their organisation will seek to prevent inadvertent disclosure of information, for example by not forwarding information to unauthorised contacts, and by taking care when working on or printing information related to the Common Platform.

  4. Users in their organisation will be responsible for the secure use of the unique credentials issued to them as individuals by the Common Platform (user ID and passwords), in particular that:

    • users must protect and not share their Common Platform credentials for access to the service
    • users must report actual or suspected disclosure of this information immediately to the Common Platform Desk
    • users must not use another person’s credentials to access the Common Platform.
  5. Users will ensure that devices (including computers and mobile devices) connected to the Common Platform will be kept secure for example by being locked when not in use and the data secured through encryption and/or protected access (password or similar).

  6. Users will not make false claims or denials relating to use of the Common Platform (falsely denying any access, editing, reproduction or viewing of digital case material).

  7. Users will always check that the recipients of Common Platform information are authorised to receive it, and that information is not accidentally or deliberately released to any unauthorised third-party.

  8. Users will only access the service from devices that have appropriate security controls installed, enabled and up to date (including, as appropriate, firewalls, anti-virus and spyware software, encryption of data and operating system security patches).

  9. Users will not attempt to bypass or subvert system access security controls.

  10. When using Wi-Fi, users will only access the service through secure Internet access. Users will not ‘trust’ or ‘accept’ invalid security certificates for websites.

  11. Users will only connect to Common Platform from within the UK or European Economic Area (EEA) and will not attempt to access the Common Platform from a location that is outside the UK or EEA.

  12. The organisation or user understands that HMCTS reserves the right to audit usage and investigate security incidents and confirm that, should such an investigation be necessary, users will provide any necessary support to the best of their ability.

  13. The organisation’s authorised administrator(s) will maintain an up to date record of all users associated with the organisation and amend or remove access to the Common Platform in accordance with the appropriate user guides. This includes (but is not limited to) deleting a user or accountable person leaving the organisation or changing to a role for which certain levels of access are no longer appropriate. Administrators are required to action changes on the day they become effective, or as soon as reasonably possible thereafter. In particular, there should be no time when the organisation is without an accountable person and at least one administrator.

  14. Their organisation is responsible for all agents working on behalf of their organisation and are treated as ‘users’ for the organisation for which they are appointed.

  15. Should the organisation cease to operate, or merges with another organisation, the Common Platform Desk must be informed as soon as possible.

  16. In the event of a suspected breach of this agreement, HMCTS reserves the right to investigate and, if a breach has occurred, to impose appropriate sanctions. This can range from a warning and instructions to improve internal processes, to temporary suspension or reduction in service availability, to the potential complete withdrawal of service, should the breach impact adversely other users of the service and the integrity of the trust framework within which the service operates.

  17. Continued use of the service by an organisation will be taken as an organisation’s acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Published 29 September 2020
Last updated 26 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added video on how to use the Common Platform.

  2. Uploaded a new version of the Excel HMCTS Common Platform defence account registration form.

  3. Uploaded new version of the Excel registration form.

  4. Uploaded new versions of the HMCTS Common Platform defence account registration form, both CSV and Excel versions.

  5. Updated Welsh language version to reflect English version. Adding new link to list of courts with Common Platform operational.

  6. Added a link to the list of courts where Common Platform is now operational.

  7. Added Welsh translation

  8. Replaced the PDF version of the Common Platform learning guide for defence professionals with an HTML version.

  9. Updated learning guide

  10. Updated account registration guidance (can now add more users at one time).

  11. Updated the How to register section, including link to new instructional video.

  12. Uploaded an updated version of the Common Platform learning guide for defence professionals.

  13. Updated version of learning guide for defence professionals published.

  14. Added a new document - the Common Platform learning guide.

  15. Registration form updated.

  16. First published.