Flexible court hour plans revealed by HMCTS

Plans for the flexible court hours scheme have been published by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Set to be rolled out on a pilot basis, the aim of the scheme is to establish a system where people work different hours, and will initially take place in 11 courtrooms across England and Wales.

Earlier this week, HMCTS tendered for the pilots to be evaluated by an independent organisation. The brief was to assess whether the changes could enable the current justice system to operate both more effectively and efficiently.

For those who have expressed their doubts on the changes put forward, a paper accompanying the plans requests feedback from professionals. This will form part of a wider agenda over the next few months, where officials will communicate with the sector as well as others, in order to establish the best way to move forward.

The paper can be accessed here.

The expected date for a full review, including recommendations to be published, is the latter half of 2018.

In the proposals, HMCTS have stated that the flexible hours are unlikely to be applied to trials which are long or complex. Rather, they state, they will be used for circumstances where the individuals involved suit different hours.

HMCTS also stressed that no individual will be expected to work additional hours than they do at present.

It’s expected that the pilot will run from February next year through to August. Evaluation from officials will then take place, which is predicted to last until October 2018.

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