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Further strikes called over Common Platform

By Monidipa Fouzder >>

(29 November 2022)

Further strikes have been announced over the rollout of a courts case management system following a meeting between trade union PCS and HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

Legal advisers and court associates at more than 60 magistrates’ courts struck for several days last month over the Common Platform, which has been beset by problems since it was introduced in September 2020.

Further strikes will take place from Friday 9 December to Monday 12 December on top of those from 2 to 5 December.

PCS said the additional strikes come ‘following a meeting with HMCTS where no further substantial concessions were offered. As a result, PCS has requested that we present directly to the HMCTS board to make the wider case on Common Platform’.

Common Platform is currently live in 173 courts, or 76% of all criminal courts, and 211,047 cases have been accepted onto the platform since rollout began.

HMCTS said that around 200 employees have voted to strike from an HMCTS workforce of 19,000 and it is closely monitoring the impact.

Contingency measures include adjourning or vacating work in advance, getting senior legal managers to cover courts as well as trainees where they are competent to do so, and moving legal advisers to neighbouring courts to cover work. Non-essential work, such as meetings, have been cancelled.

A spokesperson for HMCTS said: ‘Common Platform is fundamental to modernising the court system – replacing out-of-date systems and freeing up court staff so we can better deliver justice for all. We will continue to work closely with all staff to support them through the transition. We want to thank all the court staff, judges and others who have contributed to its design and implementation so far.’

Asked about Common Platform, lord chancellor Dominic Raab told the House of Commons justice select committee last week that there had been teething issues ‘but it is important that we deliver this and make a success of it’.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)