HMCTS operational summary for week commencing Monday 6 September 2021

6th September 2021

Next week’s update will be issued on Friday 10 September 2021.

  • Updated: The number and location of our temporary Nightingale courts will be changing over the next weeks as we reach the end of venue-hire contracts. We will be opening the first of two additional Crown courtrooms at Leeds Cloth Hall Nightingale Court. The second additional courtroom will open in the week commencing Monday 13 September 2021. We are extending 32 Crown Nightingale courtrooms to the end of March 2022. A full list of Nightingale courts and additional courtrooms currently open is available via GOV.UK.
  • Read our latest guidance for all court and tribunal users during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Reminder: We actively encourage our staff and all court users to continue with twice-weekly asymptomatic rapid testing regardless of their vaccination status. We also encourage individuals to take a free, rapid lateral flow COVID-19 test before coming to a court or tribunal. These are free and readily available in your local area, or to order online. Anyone who tests positive should self-isolate and follow the latest NHS advice.

Crime

  • The national roll out of Common Platform is on track to continue. We continue to prepare targeted sites for the roll out, including working with relevant police forces and evaluating progress at all existing live sites, feeding in lessons learned and continuing refinement of the support plan and adjusting the approach to roll out if necessary.
  • Common Platform is currently live in 101 courts (32 Crown Courts and 69 magistrates’ courts). 44% of all criminal courts are now managing cases on Common Platform.
  • Reminder: Defence professionals can download the Initial Details of the Prosecution Case (IDPC) directly from Common Platform, instead of requesting this from the Crown Prosecution Service. You can also upload case documents directly to Common Platform, including the Preparation for Effective Trial (PET) and Better Case Management (BCM) forms.
  • Reminder: Defence solicitors and barristers can use the Common Platform professional check-in feature in both the Crown Court and the magistrates’ court. This records your name against the court record for Legal Aid Agency payment purposes, and informs the judge, legal adviser or court clerk that you are in attendance. Watch our video guide to find out more.

Civil

  • A new feature is being rolled out to the online civil money claims (OCMC) system, which allows judges to draw direction orders digitally. Judge draws directions order (JDDO) allows judges to draw digital directions orders via OCMC for cases that are valued between £300.01 and £10,000. The feature has now been rolled out across the North East, the South East, London, and the South West regions. It went live in the Midlands region on Wednesday 25 August 2021. JDDO will be introduced to Wales and the North West region by the end of September 2021.

Family

  • Updated: From Monday 13 September 2021 legal representatives must submit applications for divorce online using MyHMCTS. The only exceptions are applications for civil partnership dissolution, judicial separation and nullity which must be filed on paper at Bury St. Edmunds Regional Divorce Unit. Our guide to using our online divorce services is available via GOV.UK.
  • Updated: Family Circuit Judge hearings are moving from Coverdale House in Leeds and will now take place at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.
  • On Thursday 19 August 2021 a number of improvements were made to the online probate service. Trust Corporations can now apply using MyHMCTS for a grant of probate. Other changes include the ability for probate practitioners to sign a legal statement on behalf of their client and upload them onto their application. Read our blog on recent improvements to the probate service.

Tribunals

  • Updated: Employment Tribunal and Social Security and Child Support Tribunal hearings that were taking place at Wilberforce Court in Hull are now taking place at Hull Combined Court.
  • As part of work to enhance our online service, solicitors and other legal professionals can now pay immigration and asylum tribunal fees quickly and easily using our Payment by Account (PBA) service via MyHMCTS. PBA provides a fast, free and secure method of payment. Information about how PBA works and how to register is available via GOV.UK. We welcome feedback via our online exit survey or via support.IA@justice.gov.uk.

Judicial guidance and announcements

For the latest practice directions, advice, and guidance please visit the Judicial Office website