What do flexible court opening hours mean for families?

Wiseman AdminFamily LawLeave a Comment

Flexible operating hours in the family court will begin rolling out from spring 2019, the Law Society has revealed.

The legal regulator said pilots would see extended court opening hours in two civil and family courts in Manchester and Brentford before rolling out the scheme across the rest of the country.

It is believed that the pilot will be used to assess whether civil and family buildings can be used more effectively by enabling people to attend court outside of the usual sitting hours (10am to 4pm), and what more flexibility means for legal professionals and staff.

When announced, the Government said the measure would mean that people may no longer need to take an entire day off work to attend court and those with caring responsibilities could find it easier to fit in hearings at the beginning or end of the day.

Commenting on the pilot, Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said: “We want to make our courts and tribunals more accessible to the public. This pilot assesses whether and how we can give people greater flexibility in their busy lives.

“We listened carefully to the views of legal professionals and others before going ahead, and as a result flexible operating hours are not being piloted in criminal courts. We will now test different options relating to operating hours in two civil and family courts and an independent evaluation will be carried out before any decisions are made about further roll-out.”

The change forms part of a £1 billion package of measures designed to reform courts and tribunals with the aim of “making it as simple and straightforward as possible for people who come into contact with the justice system”.

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