Rapid Consultation: The impact of COVID-19 measures on the civil justice system

The Government has acted quickly and implemented an independent review led by Dr Natalie Byrom, Director of Research at The Legal Education Foundation with the support of a wider virtual working group to gather feedback on the impact of COVID measures on the civil justice system.

The review is particularly interested in gathering feedback from court users in response to the following questions:

  • What is working well about the current arrangements?
  • Which types of cases are most suited to which type of hearings and why?
  • How does the experience of remote hearings vary depending on the platform that is used?
  • What technology is needed to make remote hearings successful?
  • What difference does party location make to the experience of the hearing?
  • How do remote hearings impact on the ability of representatives to communicate with their clients?
  • How do professional court users and litigants feel about remote hearings?
  • How do litigants in person experience hearings that are conducted remotely?
  • How do remote hearings impact on perceptions of the justice system by those who are users of it?
  • How is practice varying across different geographical regions?
  • What has been the impact of current arrangements on open justice?

There are three ways to participate in the review:

  1. Submit material to the literature review: The consultation will review existing published accounts of the experience of civil court users during this time. If you or your organisation have published any relevant material (guidance, blog posts, opinion pieces), or if you have findings from a survey you would be happy to share, please email: consultation@theLEF.org
  2. Complete the survey on the experience of remote hearings: The Civil Justice Council has a particular interest in understanding the experience of court users who have participated in a remote hearing since 19 March 2020. If you have participated in, or observed, a remote hearing since 19 March, please follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CJC_CovidReview to complete this survey. Due to the considerable pressures on judicial and court staff time, at the request of the Master of the Rolls, this survey is focussed on users; the equally important views of judiciary and court staff will be gathered by other means.
  3. Join the remote consultation meeting: A virtual consultation meeting will be held on 11 May – further information and joining instructions will be issued in due course.

If you have any other feedback you would like to raise, or would prefer to contribute by email, or telephone please email: consultation@theLEF.org

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Michael Coyle is a Solicitor Advocate and can be contacted via email at michael.coyle@lawdit.co.uk

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