Early adopter programme to see 18 courts test digital case-management system
Courts are to begin using the £280m Common Platform digital case-management system in September.
The Common Platform initiative, on which work began in 2016, aims to replace five separate case-management tools currently in use with a single digital system for use across the justice system. The programme is a key strand of the wider £1bn digital transformation of the courts system.
Eighteen ‘early adopter’ courts in seven towns and cities around England and Wales will begin using the Common Platform on a test basis in September.
The first of these will be the magistrates’ and crown court in Derby, where training of court staff and other users across the criminal justice system has already begun. After Derby, test implementations will take place at courts in Croydon, Guildford, Llanelli, Bristol, Warrington, and Northumbria.
Common Platform is designed to digitally provide all criminal case information – including charges and evidence – to all relevant parties across the judiciary, courts staff, legal representatives, and the Crown Prosecution Service. It will replace five tools currently used by the criminal justice system: Libra; XHIBIT; Bench; Court Store; and Digital Mark-Up.
According to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service, deploying a single platform will prevent information having to be copied between systems, while also cutting down on paper usage.
Amanda Lowndes, Midlands head of crime at HMCTS, said: “I’m confident that by providing all the criminal case information in one place, and in a digital format, the Common Platform will help us support all organisations in the criminal justice system. It will help us to work more effectively together, reduce delays and make evidence sharing easier. We’re very keen to work with our judges and others to test this digital product in our court.”
The government has previously indicated that it intends to fully implement Common Platform across the justice system by the end of the current fiscal year. In the announcement of the early adopter programme, the government said that, following completion of the tests, the scheme will be “gradually expanded to all criminal courts in England and Wales” over the next 12 months.