UK: Crown court digital case system to remain alongside Common Platform

Law Soc Gazette

HM Courts & Tribunals Service has revealed that a web-based platform that was supposed to be replaced by the troubled Common Platform courts IT system will remain.

Work on Common Platform, which began in 2012 and will be completed next year, is intended to enable parties in a criminal case to access relevant information on one system. It is one of the flagships of the HMCTS courts reform programme. However, HMCTS director Daniel Flury today revealed that the Crown court digital case system will remain while Common Platform improvement works continue.

Flury said: ‘From the outset, delivering Common Platform has been one of the most significant and challenging aspects of reform. The external and operational environment has changed since we first started the reform programme. It’s right that we regularly review our plans and programmes to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of those working in the court system and provide value and efficiency for the taxpayer.’

Over the next few months, Flury said HMCTS will focus on enhancing Common Platform to support legal and court processes, fix ‘problems and defects’, and improve overall performance, efficiency and stability.

Common Platform will remain the system of court record in the Crown and magistrates’ court. However, HMCTS decided to retain the digital case system being told by staff, judges and lawyers that it ‘works well’ and meets their needs.

Flury said: ‘We’ll look at ways we can enhance DCS in future and make sure the two systems work well together, and we’re exploring opportunities for the transfer of data and information between them. This means that, for now, there’s no change to the way legal professionals use systems in the Crown Court.’

In her latest update, Criminal Bar Association chair Tana Adkin KC said: ‘The reforms proposed by the Common Platform have been hard to achieve but most ambitious IT projects run into problems and one this ambitious was always going to be particularly challenging.’