News

Litigation and things

Meltdown in the civil courts?

The civil and family court system is facing the prospect of chaos as the government prepares to cut public counter services and problems persist at the Salford civil claims centre, lawyers have warned.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) wrote to civil and family court users earlier this year to say that it was to replace “face-to-face services” with online, telephone, post and drop-box facilities and to cut counter hours by two-thirds to 11am–1pm.

One can easily see opening court counters for just two hours a day, coupled with cuts to legal aid,(such that it is) would have a material impact on access to justice’. An expected surge in the number of litigants in person, with inadequate access to computers makes this sound like the horrors of dealing with HMR&C.

The Law Society’s civil justice committee said that cutting counter hours would be in breach of the Court Charter 1994, which states that 10am-4pm is the ‘national minimum standard’. Reductions in face-to-face services would also cause ‘delay, confusion and frustration for users and court staff’, the committee said.

Simon Tolson
Chairman of TeCSA
11 May 2012

Annual Dinner 2012

Members should note that this year’s Annual Dinner will take place following the Annual General Meeting at One Whitehall Place on Thursday 15 November 2012. Details of how to book your places etc will follow closer to the event.

Champagne Summer Party 2012

This year’s TeCSA Summer Party is being held on Norton Rose’s fabulous roof terrace overlooking the Thames on Wednesday 11 July 2012. There will be Champagne, live music and other entertainment on tap while you enjoy the evening networking and mingling with other members and contacts. If members want further information about how to purchase tickets they should contact Dominic Helps on Dominic.Helps@corbett.co.uk.

Registry offices for the Supreme Court

 

Registry offices for the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest senior appeal court for both civil and criminal cases, and the Privy Council’s Judicial Committee, for Commonwealth matters, will shut from July 26 2012 at 4.30pm to August 13 at 10am meaning that key papers can not be lodged during that time.

Officials hope the deadline delay will be a stress-busting move for legal professionals by helping them avoid the congested trips they would have to make to work through the heavy Olympic traffic, a spokesman said.

No hearings are set as the court will be in recess but, unlike in any other year, any deadlines that fall in this period have been delayed to August 13.

The court would expect to receive approximately 50 deliveries of papers and packages from legal firms in an average week.

The move affects lawyers needing to lodge fresh appeal papers, to lodge a response to an ongoing case or who must file documents ahead of a hearing that is due to start when the new legal year starts in October.

A Supreme Court spokesman said: “We have taken the decision to stop the clock on the deadline for lodging appeal papers with the Court over the period of the Olympic Games to help reduce extra journeys into central London at what is expected to be a very busy time.

“The entire court service is having to look at how its services will be affected during this exceptional period.

“We hope that our small contribution to cutting traffic will also ease some of the stress for legal professionals working on proceedings to be heard here after the summer break.”

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