Flexible Operating Hours

27 October 2017

This week HMCTS published a prospectus setting out the rationale for testing flexible court operating hours and inviting views on how the pilots can best be carried out.

HMCTS has undertaken to respond directly to comments and views and to publish a summary of all the feedback received and how it has been considered.

Should members of the Bar wish to make their views known, the deadline for responses to the questions (which start on page 19) is 1st December, and should be sent to: flexibleoperatinghours@justice.gsi.gov.uk

Responding to the prospectus,Chair of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC said:

"I welcome the fact that there is now a determination by HMCTS to engage in wider consultation. It is obviously important that those at the coalface who have experience of what happens in court, are consulted.

"Similarly it is helpful to receive the express assurance, as articulated in the HMCTS prospectus, that:'The success of the pilots is contingent on there being no significant detrimental impact on diversity for legal professionals and the judiciary.'

"As we have always said, the Bar will need to be satisfied before the commencement of any pilot that a proper evaluation process is in place. It must measure all relevant considerations in a manner which is demonstrably thorough, robust and independent. It is also important that the result of evaluation is not skewed by the criteria or method used to pre-select the cases listed in the pilot courts."


Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board