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Rebecca Delaney
Rebecca Delaney
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Early and late sittings to be piloted in family courts
Date:19 NOV 2018
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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 a day, under a new pilot that has been announced by the U.K. government

Two courts in Manchester and Brentford will run the pilots for six months, testing whether civil and family buildings can be used more effectively; the benefits of making it possible for people to attend court outside of the traditional 10am – 4pm sitting day; and what more flexibility means for staff and legal professionals.

The Government is investing more than £1 billion 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.

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," Frazer added.

In October 2017, a Pilots Prospectus was published which sought feedback on proposals for early and late court sittings before the pilots began.

Case types proposed for inclusion in the pilots announced today were chosen following input from the legal sector and local judiciary, and views of court users and professionals will be taken in to account in the evaluation. A full evaluation will be conducted by an independent organisation.

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