A weekly summary of the latest HM Courts and Tribunals Service operational position for users. We will aim to update this every Friday at 4pm.
Our weekly operational update will be emailed to our subscribers Sunday evenings. On Monday mornings we’ll also publish a link to on Twitter.
Follow us on Twitter to check for daily or urgent updates.
You should continue to act carefully and remain cautious, to help protect yourself and others. Find out what you need to do.
HMCTS operational summary for week commencing Monday 26 July 2021
Next week’s update will be issued on Friday 30 July 2021.
- Updated: The number and location of our Nightingale courts is changing over the next few weeks as we reach the end of venue-hire contracts. On Saturday 31 July 2021, our licence with Preston North End Football Club ends and the Nightingale court will be closing. On the same date one courtroom at the University of Bolton Stadium Nightingale court will close, while the other courtroom will remain open. All of our Nightingale courts are set up on a temporary basis to provide additional courtroom capacity and meet local operational needs. We will consider replacement venues in locations where an operational need remains. Our full list of Nightingale courts and additional courtrooms currently open is available via GOV.UK.
- Updated: There is still time to register for our online discussion for legal professionals on Tuesday 27 July 2021 at 5pm to 6pm. The session will discuss how we are responding to Step 4 of the government’s roadmap out of national restrictions for England. The event will be chaired by Paul Harris, HMCTS Operations Director, with questions and feedback steered by legal professional body representatives who will also sit on the panel, including representatives from The Law Society, Bar Council, Criminal Bar Association and CILEX. Registration for the event is now open.
- Reminder: We have published our updated guidance for all court and tribunal users during the COVID-19 pandemic, Organisational Risk Assessment and assessment tool, and keeping our buildings safe, secure and clean.
- Reminder: We actively encourage our staff and all court users to support their local authorities by taking part in surge testing in areas affected by variants of concern. We also strongly encourage everyone to continue with twice-weekly asymptomatic rapid testing regardless of their vaccination status. Anyone who tests positive should self-isolate and follow the latest NHS advice.
- Reminder: Home testing kits are available from all courts and tribunal sites in England and Wales and will be offered to all professional users, legal professionals, judiciary, contractors, jurors, witness services and staff who attend scheduled hearings.
- Updated: We prioritise setting up Common Platform accounts according to where legal professionals are based. Solicitors and barristers who work at courts which are due to go live with Common Platform soon will have their account set up expedited. If you work at a court which isn’t due to go live for a while, your account will still be set up, it might just take a little longer. If you’re working in a court that is already live and you don’t have an account, let us know and we’ll get you set up urgently.
- Updated: The national rollout of the Common Platform criminal case management system continues, with 6 more criminal courts in the North East in Kingston-upon-Hull, Beverley, Bridlington, and Grimsby. Defence solicitors and barristers in these areas need to register for user accounts.
- Updated: Common Platform is now live in 101 courts (32 Crown Courts and 69 magistrates’ courts). This means 44% of criminal courts are now managing cases on Common Platform. During August 2021, it will reach 16 more courts in the South West and the Midlands.
- Reminder: Defence professionals can download the Initial Details of the Prosecution Case (IDPC) directly from Common Platform, instead of requesting this from the Crown Prosecution Service. You can also upload case documents directly to Common Platform. If you are working on a Common Platform case, please use this feature instead of emailing documents to HMCTS or our service centre.
- Reminder: Defence solicitors and barristers can use the Common Platform professional check-in feature in both the Crown Court and the magistrates’ court. This records your name against the court record for Legal Aid Agency payment purposes, and informs the judge, legal adviser or court clerk that you are in attendance. Watch our video guide to find out more.
- Updated: A new feature is being rolled out to the online civil money claims (OCMC) system, which allows judges to draw direction orders digitally. Judge draws directions order (JDDO) allows judges to draw digital directions orders via OCMC for cases that are valued between £300.01 and £10,000. The feature has been rolled out across the North East and South East and is being introduced to all other regions over the next few months.
- Updated: On Monday 19 July 2021, the Royal Courts of Justice and Upper Tribunal Project switched on the E-filing service for the following Queen’s Bench District Registries: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle. The introduction of the E-filing allows external users to issue and file documents, pay court fees, review and track their cases online. The proposed date for mandatory use of the service by legal professionals is Monday 18 October 2021. Further information on the practice direction has now been published.
- On Tuesday 13 July 2021, we published our response to the consultation Proposal on the future of Medway County and Family Court. We confirmed that Medway County and Family Court will relocate to the Medway Council buildings at Gun Wharf once enabling works are completed. As an interim measure the Holiday Inn (Rochester – Chatham), is operating following our exit from the existing court building in June 2021.
- Improvements to the probate service on MyHMCTS are planned in mid-July 2021. To prepare for this please submit or delete unsubmitted cases on your dashboard. Unsubmitted cases will not be available after the improvements go live. More information on the improvements and updated guidance will be published in due course.
- As part of work to enhance our online service, solicitors and other legal professionals can now pay immigration and asylum tribunal fees quickly and easily using payment by account (PBA) via MyHMCTS. PBA has been operating in other HMCTS jurisdictions for some time. It provides a fast, free and secure method of payment. Information about how PBA works and how to register is available online. We welcome feedback via our online exit survey or via support.IA@justice.gov.uk.
- Our Employment Appeal Tribunal E-Filing service went live on Monday 12 July 2021. The President has published a guidance note on electronic filing of documents online.
Royal Courts of Justice
- Updated: The fees office at the Royal Courts of Justice is relocating. The office will now be based at the West Green Building. The appointment based system is available to book via: 0203 936 8957.
- The Royal Courts of Justice have published updated Adminstrative Court Office user guidance.
- For the latest practice directions, advice, and guidance please visit the Judicial Office website.
- Week commencing Monday 19 July 2021
- Week commencing Monday 12 July 2021
- Week commencing Monday 5 July 2021
- Week commencing Monday 28 June 2021
- Week commencing Monday 21 June 2021
- Week commencing Monday 14 June 2021
- Week commencing Monday 7 June 2021
- Week commencing Monday 31 May 2021
- Week commencing Monday 24 May 2021