HMCTS To Make Court Lists More Accessible
The courts service has announced the creation of a new online resource to improve access to court and tribunal hearing lists, stating the critical importance of local and national journalists to upholding the principle of open justice.
Announcing the new initiative, HMCTS said: “Justice must be seen to be done, and local and national journalists are key to this. They need to see what’s happening in courts and tribunals so that they can decide when to attend and report on proceedings. They need the lists in good time, before hearings take place.
“These needs inform the practical design of the new service. We’re including predictive search boxes to help members of the public find the information quickly. Legal professionals and the media can become verified users and subscribe to receive specific hearing lists by email, removing the need to contact courts or tribunals to be added to multiple distribution lists.”
The new searchable service will be available on gov.uk with lists available in one place and in a standardised format. Courts and tribunals will be moved to the new service in phases meaning the number of hearing lists on the service will build over time.
The publications service should be available to be used by a small number of courts from Spring 2022 with the service continuing to be tested throughout the early part of the year while being expanded to more courts.
News Media Association legal director Sayra Tekin said: “The NMA has campaigned for many years to make court lists more accessible through digital platforms in addition to improving access to hard copy lists for journalists at court.
“As HMCTS says, local and national journalists continue to play a critical part in upholding the principle of open justice and this important new initiative is necessary to strengthen their ability to do this on behalf of the public in a modern age.”