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NEWS

Stop getting court up in queues

Government pilot designed to reduce queues into court and grant legal professionals easier access. 

Whilst most people will never step foot into a court room throughout their lifetime, for many legal professionals, the local dock is a daily workplace.

Heightened security of such government buildings is considered a huge benefit in many respects, especially in the current climate, but it can also cause significant delays for professionals trying to get in and out of court on a regular basis.

A new scheme, being piloted by HM Courts & Tribunals Service, will aim to allow working legal professionals direct access into court without having to queue to be searched. The scheme, in which an app or photo ID will be used to verify identity, will recognise the trusted status of legal professionals without compromising security or safety.

Justice Minister, Lucy Frazer, said “Courts and tribunals are the daily workplace for many trusted legal professionals. This pilot will make it easier for them to simply get on with their job.”

In August, the pilot was opened to the BAR Council and the Law Society, with members being asked to register in time for the fast track entry trial from September at five selected courts; Brighton Magistrates’ Court, Maidstone Combined Court; Southwark Crown Court, Tameside Magistrates’ Court and Wood Green Crown Court.

Long term Carter Brown Expert, Galen commented “As a visitor to courts for many years, this would for me be a welcome return to the good old days, when professionals could enter courts (and prisons) with minimal formality.  But in truth, it’s rarely a major nuisance and I cannot recall having to wait for more than a minute or two to be admitted to a court.  It probably feels more onerous to legal professionals who have to do this daily rather than just occasionally, as will be the case for most experts.”

Despite his reservations on the absolute necessity of the scheme, Galen goes on to explain how this system could be more beneficial within prisons: “Prisons are a different matter, especially when professionals are processed at the same time as domestic visitors and it can take half an hour to get in, but there appears to be no suggestion that the scheme will be extended to prisons.”

It is believed that if the pilot is successful, it will be rolled out nationally and opened up to other professional groups. The scheme will not be used, however, at courts hearing terrorism or high security cases.

For more information, you can visit the Ministry of Justice website here.

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