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 HMCTS weekly operational update

HMCTS operational summary for week commencing Monday 16 May 2022

Next week's update will be issued on Friday 20 May 2022.


  • Updated: Section 28 measures have been rolled out to a further 14 locations to support more victims of rape and sexual offences with the stress of being cross-examined in court.
  • Updated: To find case details on Common Platform, defence professionals will need the case unique reference number and the first name, last name and date of birth of all defendants. The case reference number can be obtained from the charge sheet, public court list or by contacting our service centre by email: or call 0330 808 4407.
  • Updated: For help and support in using Common Platform, defence professionals should speak to their organisation's administrator or contact our helpdesk. Telephone 0300 303 0688, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (excluding bank holidays), or email
  • Reminder: We published guidance for defence professionals on how to use Common Platform, and guidance for organisational administrators at legal firms and chambers on creating user accounts, assigning roles, and other system tasks.
  • Reminder: Defence solicitors and barristers attending court for a Common Platform hearing should use the professional check-in feature, in both the Crown and magistrates' courts.
  • Reminder: If you have a Common Platform account, you need to login at least once every 90 days to keep it active. If your account is inactive for 90 days, it will be deregistered for security reasons. If you are deregistered, ask your organisation administrator to re-register you.


Judicial guidance and announcements

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A weekly summary of HMCTS news and information

13 May 2022

Statue of Lady Justice


  • This week sees the launch of our new reporters' charter. It outlines the rights and obligations of journalists when reporting court proceedings and has been developed in partnership with the Media Lawyers Association and Society of Editors.


HMCTs Bulletin banner

Keeping you updated with news about the reform programme

Issue 47 - 3 May 2022

Client and lawyer discuss matters over a desk

'Blame game' ends as no-fault divorce is introduced

The new online system for divorce went live on 6 April as landmark reforms aimed at reducing conflict between separating couples came into force.


News Headlines


Judgments available to search and browse online

Court and tribunal judgments are now freely available from The National Archives through the Find Case Law site, and are available for anyone to use.


Courts to work at full capacity for a second year

The government announced that there will be no cap on Crown Court sitting days for the second financial year in a row.


Justice bills receive Royal Assent

The government has passed four major justice bills, designed to provide better protection for the public and help restore confidence in the criminal justice system.


BSL is now a recognised language in Britain

Deaf people requiring the use of a sign language interpreter will be allowed to take part in jury service for the first time.


Magistrates' sentencing powers increased

Magistrates are now able to issue prison sentences of up to one year for a single offence, which aims to help reduce outstanding cases in the Crown Court.


Making courts and tribunals more accessible to all

We have updated our vulnerability action plan. It sets out the work we're doing to ensure vulnerable court users are not disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Other News


More than 97% of offenders on sobriety tags have stayed off alcohol, a year after courts have been able to order offenders to wear them as part of a sentence.


Each week we publish a summary of our latest operational position for court users. You can sign up to receive this information directly by email.


You can watch a recording of our webinar on the new divorce service. You can also view the webinar slides and watch our instructional videos


We published management information for February 2021 to February 2022. We use this information to understand workload volumes and timeliness nationally.


The Ministry of Justice has published criminal court quarterly civil justice statistics and family court quarterly civil justice statistics.


Update from HMCTS re: damages claims

4th April 2022

Good morning,

I hope this finds you well.

I am getting in touch following communication with HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to raise that from today, Monday 4 April, all damages claims that fall within the scope of Practice Direction 51ZB must be issued online using the damages claims portal on MyHMCTS.

HMCTS launched the civil damages claims service in May 2021. The pilot was supported by a new practice direction (PD 51ZB). From today, users wishing to issue a claim that is covered by PD 51ZB will be required to:

 We have more information about using the damages claims portal on our webpages.

Further resources:

HMCTS will be reviewing the response journey for claims between March and August 2022. If you have feedback you'd like us to raise with HMCTS, do let me know directly or email

All the best,


Beth Quinn (She/Her)

Key Account Manager - Member Engagement & Services

The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL

Tel: 020 8049 3755 / 07791161328 / @LSLondonandSE



THE REMOTE ACCESS FAMILY GUIDE - Essential Reading 24/3/20

Mr Justice MacDonald has produced the attached guide, which is essential reading for all family practitioners.


Mr James Turner QC has prepared an EBundling Guide to help advocates and others deal with the issue of preparing bundles, a task that we will all have to learn very quickly for the foreseeable future. Guidance is attached. The DFJ has today confirmed that perfect bundles are not expected.


The following is understood to be the definition of keyworkers in justice as currently defined by the MoJ.

  • Advocates (including solicitor-advocates) required to appear before a court or tribunal (remotely or in person), including prosecutors;
  • Other legal practitioners required to support the administration of justice including duty solicitors (police station and court) and barristers, solicitors, legal executives, paralegals and others who work on imminent or ongoing court or tribunal hearings;
  • Solicitors acting in connection with the execution of wills; and
  • Solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty.


Memo from HHJ Stuart Farquhar of 6th September 2019 (abridged)

I have recently been appointed to be the Lead Judge for the Financial Remedies Court in Kent, Surrey and Sussex above which is now due to commence on 1st November 2019. I would just like to highlight what this will mean in practice and what changes will be seen.

There are not going to be wholesale changes in many aspects but it is hoped and intended that the alterations that are to occur will improve the system. Any feedback on any of the issues that are set out here are certainly welcome as well as any other suggestions as to how the system could be improved.

The following are some of the changes that will be occurring:

  • All District Judges and Deputy District Judges dealing with FRC work will be ?ticketed? to carry out Financial Remedy work and will sit on an increased amount of this work to ensure there is greater specialisation.
  • Applications will become digital. Once firms have registered (it is not currently available for Litigants in Person to register) they will be able to lodge Forms A and subsequent documents digitally. The Online Financial Remedy Consent Order Pilot is already up and running (leaflet attached) and I would urge all firms to consider joining the scheme. The contested applications will be using the same platform.
  • Allocation - there will be a simple allocation questionnaire to complete to indicate the desired Court and whether the case is complex - there will be a number of 'complexity' options to tick as well as 'other' to deal with particularly unusual issues.
  • The complex cases will be allocated to HHJ Robinson in Kent and myself in Surrey and Sussex. The two of us will also deal with all of the appeals in the three counties.
  • The FRC will deal with Schedule 1 Applications and those pursuant to Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 and related applications. TOLATA and Inheritance Act claims are likely to follow but it is considered that primary legislation is required for this to occur.
  • Private FDRs and other out of Court settlement mechanisms will be encouraged.

In the meantime, if there are any particular points that any practitioner wishes to raise in terms of difficulties in the system or suggested improvements then please let me know through my clerk.

HHJ Stuart Farquhar

Brighton Family Centre


Following a meeting with Supt. Emma Banks at Kent Police in Canterbury, please note the new system in place from September 2017 for domestic violence and child protection work in Kent.



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