Court officials take on ‘routine tasks’ to free judges’ time

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May 24, 2018
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Lucy Frazer said she wanted to use judges' expertise where it was most needed

Court officials are to take on routine tasks from judges such as issuing summons or taking pleas.

The Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill will allow court and tribunal staff who are appropriately qualified and experienced to take on some of the more simple court work. The aim is to free up judges’ time so that it can be put to better use.

Lucy Frazer, QC, a justice minister, said: “This bill supports our fundamental transformation of the justice system, making courts easier to use, more efficient and fit for the digital age.

“By enabling judges to hear cases in different courts and tribunals and giving court staff powers to deal with routine issues, we will make our courts more efficient and effective, while making better use of taxpayers’ money.

“Our judiciary are highly valued and we want to make sure judges’ time and expertise is being used where and when it is most needed.”

She said that authorised staff “could carry out some of the more straightforward judicial functions, which includes tasks like issuing a summons, taking a plea, extending time for service of applications or considering applications for variations of directions made in private or public law cases”.

It is expected to be the first in a series of legislative measures from paper-based justice systems to an online service. A spokesman said that other measures would follow when parliamentary time allowed.

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