HMCTS reform programme projects explained

We have started a £1bn programme involving over 50 projects to change and improve our court and tribunal services to bring new technology and modern ways of working.

Civil, family and tribunals projects


Civil Enforcement

Reviewing the structure of civil enforcement to deliver better information and increase the likelihood of successful enforcement. This includes increased guidance, a simplified process, and a digital system to increase efficiencies.

Court of Protection

People using the Court of Protection will be able to initiate and manage their cases online.


The accelerated possession claims process will be made digital. As an interim step, automation of administrative processes will be implemented to make processes more efficient and save money. Considerations are being given to ways of standardising the administration of possession cases.



An end-to-end solution for adoption cases.


Delivering a transformed divorce service for people who want to end their marriage or civil partnership. This project will also reduce the HMCTS resource required to administer those cases. A digital service for applications for: divorce, nullity or judicial separation of marriage or civil partnerships, and online payment of fees.

Family Public Law

This project will transform our public family law function to enable users, including local authorities, to start and manage cases online for all public family law and adoption cases

Private Family Law

Implementing systems and processes to enable private family law litigants to initiate and manage their cases online.


Implementing a streamlined, digital system to speed up and simplify the process for users who apply for a grant of probate in non-contentious cases


Employment Tribunals

This project will use a combination of the tribunals authorisation and the civil money claims models to develop a service that can change the way it works according to what the user needs. This will include the ability to resolve cases online and by video.

Immigration and Asylum Chamber

Developing the administration of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber’s service so that it can adapt according to different needs of users. It will enable case resolution both online and by video.

Social Security and Child Support

Establishing a new, digital process to improve the experience of appellants, allowing them to submit, track and manage their appeal online. This will include verification checks and an online listing tool.

Specialist Tribunals

The project will establish new ways of working across the tribunals, developed on a tribunal-by-tribunal basis.

Crime projects

All these service projects will be underpinned by the digital infrastructure known as the Common Platform, a shared system between the police, HMCTS and CPS and accessible by participants across the criminal justice system

Case Progression

Cases will be progressed outside court by judges and authorised staff under judicial supervision. Interlocutory hearings will happen online, or via video and telephone.

Charge to Initial Details of the Prosecution Case

Enabling police officers to initiate pre-charge decisions with prosecutors and enabling the prosecutors to complete that charge.

Court Hearings

Improving the way court hearings work, including through better digital and video support.

Criminal Court End-to-End

Covering case management and other capabilities to support cases to and through hearings in the criminal courts. This was initially divided into separate Crown and magistrates’ projects, but they have been brought together to give a better joined-up system. The initial test, currently in Liverpool, focuses on sentencing hearings in the Crown court. Subsequent delivery will extend the services to all types of Crown Court hearings and into the magistrates’ court.

Digital Mark-Up

A court resulting tool for legal advisers and court associates in the magistrates’ court, for all criminal cases. The service is a digital process to record and transmit the results of the judicial decision makers in magistrates’ courts to the current case management system (Libra). It is an interim system, and will in due course be replaced by the ‘full’ Common Platform, which will replace Libra rather than integrating with it, and so be easier to use.

Justice Services – Automated Track Case Management System

The new digital system to support summary only and non-imprisonable cases dealt with under the Single Justice Procedure where trials are overseen by a single magistrate. The system will be used from the prosecutor’s receipt of the case in the magistrates’ court through to a decision.

Online Plea and Allocation

Plea and allocation to take place outside the court, through a “virtual” centralised triage function, removing the need for allocation hearings. Defendants (initially through their legal advisers) will be able to indicate a plea online.

Single Justice Service

Expanding on the existing Single Justice Procedure, cases involving summary, non-imprisonable offences with no mitigating circumstances can be pleaded to online and digitally passed to a magistrate for decision (or, subject to legislation, a statutory fixed fine could be accepted). The option for a hearing – which might be via video – will remain.

Video Remand Hearings (previously Virtual Remand Hearings)

Remand hearings conducted directly from the police station/custody through video means with any pre-trial work also being managed by video.


Defining a clear and distinct future operating model for youths in the criminal courts within the Crime Service Model.

Cross-cutting projects and services projects

Approved Enforcement Agency

Covering the re-procurement of Approved Enforcement Agency contracts, due to expire, including a review of how this service is provided.

Assisted Digital

Providing support to members of the public (including litigants in person) who have limited digital capability or who are unable to access resources and information digitally – including web-chat, telephone and face to face support.

Birmingham Estates Rationalisation Project

Rationalising the Civil, Family and Tribunals estate in Birmingham to realise long term savings. Delivering a Birmingham hearing estate that is fit for purpose and can withstand future change.

Bulk Scanning and Printing

Supporting the digitisation of services by establishing a bulk scanning service. It will also reduce printing and postage costs by establishing a centralised bulk printing solution.

The Court and Tribunal Design Guide

Defining the principles and standards upon which we will base future building design.

Courts, Tribunals and Regional Tier

Developing a new organisational design for people in courts and tribunals.

Courts and Tribunals Service Centres

Delivering a number of centralised case administration centres in England and Wales by consolidating administrative activity.

Enterprise Performance Framework

Developing a new performance framework to measure performance and allow data to drive future improvement.

Estates Reform Project 1

Reviewing the utilisation of estates and removing surplus capacity.

Estates Reform Project 2

Assessing the potential for further consolidation of the estate as reform is delivered.

Flexible Operating Hours (feasibility study)

Completing a test and evaluation across a series of sites in different locations and jurisdictions to examine the feasibility of flexible, extended operating hours for hearings.

Hammersmith and Camberwell Green Project

Managing the sale of and transfer of work from Hammersmith and Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Courts.

IT Infrastructure – RCJ Wi-Fi and Screens

Implementing Wi-Fi and screens in the Royal Courts of Justice.

IT Infrastructure – Screens

Implementing screens for the judiciary, litigants in person and witnesses’ screens in civil and family courts and tribunals.

IT Infrastructure – Video Hearings Hardware

Providing video conferencing equipment in courts and tribunals to support video hearings.

IT Infrastructure – Wi-Fi

Delivering Wi-Fi in all courts and tribunals. Upgrade of Wi-Fi in crime sites.

Judicial Fees and Expenses Payment System

Improving the payment of fees and expenses to all court judges and tribunal judges and panel members. The project is creating an online system to handle the processing of claims and expenses, which now includes fee-paid members.

HMCTS people and cultural transformation

This project focuses on the skilled and dedicated people who work in HMCTS. It includes five areas:

  • Designing the future of the organisation;
  • developing future job profiles for people;
  • increasing engagement of staff – both in the current programme of change, and more widely;
  • ensuring we have policies and approaches that support recruitment, retention, redundancies and redeployment; and
  • identifying the new skills and capabilities required in the workforce, and helping to deliver them.

Scheduling and Listing

Implementing a scheduling and listing tool and new processes to be used by court listing officers to support their work.

Video Hearings (previously Virtual Hearings)

Implementing hearings in a digital environment outside traditional courts or tribunals. Developing the capacity to provide ‘On the Day Management’ of hearings, where the hearing attendees can be welcomed and communicated with, and can have ‘side conversations’ with each other. An improved telephone conferencing system will be delivered as part of the project.

Other projects

Transforming Compliance and Enforcement Programme

Increasing both the level and the efficiency of the collection of criminal financial impositions through improved business processes and IT systems. This will consolidate administrative activity through a reduced number of sites and headcount. The improved IT systems will also increase the levels of collection through improved verification and data segmentation functionality.

Published 20 June 2018