Responding to the National Audit Office (NAO) report Transforming courts and tribunals: a progress update on HM Courts and Tribunal Service's (HMCTS) courts modernisation programme, Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar, said:
"HMCTS' Court reform programme has once again come under
critical examination by the NAO and once again it has been found
wanting. Whilst the Bar Council is relieved to see that the planned
court closures have been scaled back, we have previously expressed
considerable concern about the lack of access to justice for people
who find that they live many miles from their nearest court, and we
remain concerned over the future.
"HMCTS clearly needs to look very carefully at its modernisation programme. Whilst the aims are laudable, HMCTS must ensure that it does not put justice beyond the reach of many, or that costs rise and negate any supposed benefits from the proposed court closures. This modernisation programme must not become the HS2 of the justice system."