Strategic Engagement Group Meeting Chair’s Summary - May 2022 - GOV.UK

2022-05-28 04:36:12 By : Mr. Newben Yang

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This document summarises the discussion of the Strategic Engagement Group (StratEG) meeting held on 9 May 2022. The meeting was a hybrid online and face-to-face event at 102 Petty France, London.

Members of the Bar Council, Law Society and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives met with the jurisdictional leads for the HMCTS reform programme and HMCTS corporate relations team.

The agenda included 3 presentations on the new divorce law, a verbal update on Common Platform and an update on the Family Private Law digital service.

Each jurisdiction updated on their area and project delivery.

In future hearings, the scheduling and listing ‘ListAssist’ tool roll-out is on track and has reached 60% of operational staff. The publications and information project is also running on time. There has been a short pause with the video hearings implementation. Issues have been identified with its broadband connection, but roll-out is expected to resume in a few weeks.

In the tribunals jurisdiction, and under ‘manage your hearings’, the new SSCS 5 appeal form (HMRC appeals) will be bulk scan only and ready for release on 23 May 2022. In the special tribunals programme, the project detailed design work and judicial stakeholder engagement activities are complete. As part of phase 1, 5 of the 10 ‘special tribunal’ areas will be reformed.

The crime jurisdiction update included a verbal presentation on Common Platform. The focus is now on enhancements to the case materials functionality to replace the Digital Case System (DCS) in the Crown Court. The design phase is still open for improvements, but will soon come to an end. Feedback on the designs has been invited from legal professional groups before the final designs are developed.

In the civil jurisdiction, the digital service for damages claims has started and the service has been mandatory for claimants since April 2022. Some legal professional members provided feedback that the notice for mandating the service was very short. The Online Civil Money Claims service is focused on case progression.

In the family jurisdiction, the Adoption project is progressing, as well as the Family Private Law project to deliver a digital application process. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into force on 6 April 2022, enabling ‘no fault divorce’. There had been good interaction with the legal profession and wider community on these initiatives. Further updates on the Divorce and Family Private Law digital services were presented to the meeting as below.

The new divorce law service went live on 6 April 2022. The feedback from legal professionals is that this has gone well.

The service includes changes to digital and paper divorce applications. Statistics will be collated at the end of June, but indications are that there are a good number of joint applications. The meeting received a verbal update on:

A recording of the HMCTS webinar on our new divorce service, webinar slides and instructional videos are available. Guidance is also available on GOV.UK for the new online divorce service.

Common Platform was introduced to the 11 criminal courts in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire at the end of March 2022, following the agreement of the Senior Presiding Judge.

The implementation has gone well at the above sites and the system is stable. This represents approximately 50% of courts now live with Common Platform. Staff surveys will follow.

As at 14 April 2022, 112,000 cases have been accepted onto the Common Platform and 28,000 hearings managed. This is slower than in the magistrates’ court which has managed 160,450 hearings on Common Platform.

The programme is evaluating the data from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire which includes the results from a survey that the defence community has been invited to complete.

The presentation on the Family Private Law digital service explained that the service will provide a reformed end-to-end court case data platform. The project is currently at private beta, will move to public beta and national rollout in September 2022, then close in December 2022.

The presentation described the private law plan for child arrangements and domestic abuse, private law child arrangement and private law domestic abuse releases.

Six solicitor firms are involved in the private beta. Applications submitted within private beta are administered by the centralised team in the Southampton National Business Centre. This office is supported by family courts at Southampton, Gloucester, Exeter and Swansea. Individuals will be able to use the C100 pilot and the existing arrangements to submit applications.

Current position and next steps are:

The next Strategic Engagement Group meeting is scheduled for 5 July 2022. It is intended that the meeting will be held in-person.

Head of Corporate Relations, HMCTS and Chair of Strategic Engagement Group.

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