To: Ministry of Justice / Her Majesty's Court Service

No to Late Court Sittings

No to Late Court Sittings

Please put a halt to the pilot scheme and any plans to introduce late court sittings.

Why is this important?

It is unfair and discriminatory for Court staff, Judges, Barristers, Solicitors, and court users, particularly those with children. It will have a detrimental impact on well-being and diversity at the Bar and Judiciary. It is hard enough for parents at the Bar to make it work. It jeopardises work-life balance. It is impractical and fails to take account of the cab-rank rule, listing practices, and that lawyers need time to prepare their cases and travel to and from court. Overall, all those working in the courts deserve to have a good work/life balance, and the ability to see their children. This should not be forced upon lawyers, Judges and Court staff. This is a regressive step and a barrier to greater diversity in the profession and on the bench and in particular will be a further obstacle to the retention of women.

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Reasons for signing

  • I already work at least an hour outside court in preparation for every hour that court sits. Longer hours will inevitably mean either poor preparation or sleep deprivation to such an extent that sittings will suffer; hearings will be delayed; and the fairness of trials will be jeopardised. The system runs on goodwill alone at present - this will evaporate it.
  • Justice cannot not be done purely by working out in financial terms how to maximise the use of buildings - this idea adversely impacts on all in the justice system including those on trial, witnesses and the jury doing their public duty. We then get onto those who work in this area - security staff, probation, lawyers, court staff and Judges. Justice is just too important and area to diminish to a purely financial decisions.
  • Those who practice law need to have clear heads and sufficient time to consider the nuances of each case. Late court sittings will inevitably reduce the quality of the legal service available in the UK.

Updates

2017-04-04 11:56:40 +0100

Legal cheek have picked up on this: http://www.legalcheek.com/2017/04/online-petition-calling-on-government-to-shelve-late-opening-hours-for-courts-hits-target-of-2000-signatures/

2017-03-31 21:23:26 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2017-03-31 14:03:52 +0100

500 signatures reached

2017-03-30 21:37:09 +0100

100 signatures reached

2017-03-30 14:59:28 +0100

50 signatures reached

2017-03-30 11:22:35 +0100

25 signatures reached

2017-03-30 07:48:04 +0100

10 signatures reached