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Lord Justice Briggs has today (27 July 2016) published his final report into the structure of the civil courts: The Civil Courts Structure Review: Final Report.
It was commissioned by the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls in July 2015 to coincide with a programme for reform of the courts by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and looking at civil court structures and judicial processes more generally.
The final report follows an extensive series of meetings with judges, practitioners, stakeholders and users of the civil courts, and a series of detailed written and oral submissions following the publication of the review’s interim report in January 2016.
The review makes a series of recommendations intended to inform the current programme of wider court modernisation being undertaken by HM Courts and Tribunals Service.Article continues below...
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It also makes a number of recommendations on different aspects of the civil justice system, such as enforcement of court rulings, the structure of the courts and deployment of judges. These are summarised below:
In signing off his final report, Lord Justice Briggs comments:
'It is for others to decide which of the above recommendations should be implemented, and by what means. In my view, if they are all substantially implemented, then the essentially high quality of the civil justice service provided by the courts of England and Wales will be greatly extended to a silent community to whom it is currently largely inaccessible, and both restored and protected against the weaknesses and threats which currently affect it.'
In welcoming the report, the Lord Chief Justice, The Rt Hon The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, said:
'Lord Justice Briggs has delivered a detailed and innovative final report, which the senior judiciary – working with the Government and HM Courts and Tribunal Service – will now consider with care.
While a number of the reforms being recommended are already an integral part of the HMCTS reform programme, such as the Online Court, the report has benefited from wide consultation which will help to improve the design and planning of those reforms.
Completion of a review of this magnitude within twelve months is a considerable achievement, and I congratulate Michael Briggs on its depth and clarity of thought.'
The Master of the Rolls, the Rt Hon Lord Dyson, who with Lord Thomas jointly commissioned the review, said:
'The civil justice system is facing a number of challenges and pressures, of which Lord Justice Briggs has provided a masterly analysis. He has given us ample food for thought on how the system can be modernised and made more efficient.