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Courts

Through the Transforming Justice programme, we know that Courts will be different in five years. But the challenge – and the opportunity – remains the same: equitable access to justice that supports fair and effective sentencing. This must include a court system that recognises and responds to multiple vulnerabilities.

We provide expert advice to HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) Public User Engagement Forums and work closely with our lived experience and research teams to improve the design of the court and tribunal systems.

Our response to the Justice Select Committee's consultation on access to justice implications of court and tribunal reforms

This document is our response to the Justice Select Committee’s consultation on the implications for access to justice of court and tribunal reforms. We focus particularly on the impact of these reforms for digitally excluded populations.

We share our research, which points to three main barriers that have a negative impact on digital access. These barriers are socio-economic (education, the cost of being online), communication (comprehension of English, including technical English) and psychological (apathy, trust).

We look in some detail at how these barriers may play out for different groups. These include people experiencing homelessness, people in prison, people with mental health problems, people with acquired brain injury and autism, and young people leaving care. We highlight the lack of consultation with people who have lived experience of the justice system.

As well as considering the journey of these groups in all courts, we also raise concerns. We are concerned that the court and tribunal reforms could widen the existing inequalities in our justice system for these groups.

No justice in the capital?

Our new report based on a recent survey of our London forum members estimates that Londoners who are caught in the revolving door of crisis and crime were unable to access any legal support for as many as 37,500 legal problems since the introduction legal aid cuts.