Courts Professional Access Pilot for Brighton Magistrates’ Court

10th August 2018

On 9th August HMCTS announced a small pilot scheme for streamlining access to courts for barristers and solicitors.

The courts taking part in the pilot are: Brighton Magistrates’ Court, Maidstone Combined Court; Southwark Crown Court, Tameside Magistrates’ Court and Wood Green Crown Court.

The scheme, which allows solicitors and barristers direct entrance to courts without the need to be searched, will be piloted for 12 weeks with registration beginning in August and fast-track entry from 5 September 2018.

Participating courts will require current photo ID from lawyers wishing to take part in the pilot (passport, driving licence or CLSA photo card), and will also require pre-registration from firms/chambers. Pre-registration will require the practitioner’s agreement to certain terms and conditions including not bringing in prohibited items. Those conditions of entry are attached.

Participants in the pilot will be able either to go through a separate ‘professional access’ lane at the court, or, if there is no space for a separate entry lane, to nevertheless enter without a security check, save for random searches that may be carried out (if subject to a random check, they would not then have to re-join the back of the queue).

Outside peak times, the pilot would not operate and lawyers entering or re-entering the court would still have to queue with other court users and go through the security checks.

The next step is for the court managers to invite applications from local firms of solicitors and chambers to register for the scheme at one or more of the participating courts that they regularly use. There will be an application form and the conditions of entry to sign up to. It may take a few days for the letters to be despatched.

Evaluation will include measuring queuing times; recording any problems (eg disputes over ID or whether a practitioner has been registered with the court for the pilot, or any security breaches); and feedback from lawyers and from court/security staff.

The announcement from HMCTS can be accessed here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-easier-court-entrance-for-legal-sector.

To register for the Pilot see here – Conditions of entry – Final – 08.08.17