CRIMINAL LAW SOLICITORS' ASSOCIATION

Professional court access scheme to be adopted nationally

We previously announced that CLSA members with valid ID cards would be able to take part in a Professional Court User Access Scheme. Our previous release can be found here: https://www.clsa.co.uk/index.php?q=749

By way of summary the scheme ran initially for 12 weeks towards the end of 2018. The Scheme allowed barristers and solicitors to have improved access to Courts in 5 in pilot courts: Brighton Magistrates’ Court; Maidstone Combined Court; Southwark Crown Court; Tameside Magistrates’ Court; and Wood Green Crown Court. These Courts operated a ‘Professional Access Queue’, but in order to be eligible users would have to sign up to the Conditions of Entry and Court Arrangements as well as register at the courts using a form which we provided on our website.

In addition to the above scheme, CLSA members who have a valid CLSA ID card could exclusively enjoy expedited access to all courts (there will be some courts or occasions when a higher security level will be in place and the scheme will not operate at those times).

With both the pilot and national CLSA scheme users had to register at the Courts they are most likely to attend.

We have been in ongoing discussions with HMCtS about the scheme, and the pilot was extended and is now moving to a further stage.

This afternoon, HMCTS announced the national roll out of the Professional Users' Access Scheme, which will allow legal professionals quicker access to courts. The scheme will initially be rolled out to an additional 5 courts from 22 May.

Registration for the national scheme has begun with the Bar Council and will continue with a phased rollout. We are currently working with HMCtS to open the scheme for new CLSA members in due course. At present no new registrations will be possible under the scheme as we discuss further arrangements with HMCtS for the operation of the scheme. In the interim, legal professionals who are not yet able to sign up for the electronic scheme will have to queue up as normal but those who have registered and have up to date ID cards can take advantage of the new national scheme. We hope to be able to announce further developments including allowing new registrations soon. Anyone interested should check regularly at www.clsa.co.uk

Read the press notice here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/professional-court-access-scheme-to-be-adopted-nationally

Simultaneously, a wider effort is being made to ensure all court users have clear and consistent information about what to expect from searches when entering courts and tribunals. Under the banner of ‘Expect, Inspect, Respect’, new materials and social media content will be available to highlight the work of security officers and how the search process should work.

Read the news story about the new information in courts>>

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