The Bar Council has responded to the announcement that HM Courts & Tribunals Service is extending its reform programme, pushing the finish date to 2023, a year later than previously planned.

Chair of the Bar Council Richard Atkins QC said: "This extension, whilst sensible, reflects the fact that the programme is over-ambitious and is not delivering all projects to time and cost, as reflected by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee.

"The Bar Council has had serious concerns about aspects of the programme since its inception.  It has appeared to focus too much on what might be technically feasible and not enough on the quality of justice. 

"As the investment of over £1bn was predicated on delivering very significant savings year after year from the completion of the programme (a 'spend to save' programme), this delay must be accompanied by a re-profiling of the expected saving.  

"Despite our concerns we continue to engage constructively with the CEO of HMCTS and her team." 


Notes to Editors 

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

  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.