MOJ Consultation on Open Justice: the way forward
The Ministry of Justice are holding a consultation on how you think the government can uphold and strengthen open justice in the modern age. Your evidence will be used to help inform decisions regarding the development of policy and services in this area.
Open justice is a fundamental principle at the very heart of our justice system and vital to the rule of law – justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. Its history and importance in law can be traced back to before the Magna Carta. It is a principle which allows the public to scrutinise and understand the workings of the law, building trust and confidence in our justice system.
For centuries open justice has been accommodated by the provision of public galleries, allowing individuals to observe court proceedings in-person and see justice being delivered. Acceptance of this historic provision, and little change to the way we deliver justice, has meant that open justice has been subject to little re-examination during the twentieth century, with the last public evaluation on open justice taking place in 2012.
In the intervening period there have been myriad changes to modernise our justice system, not least the introduction of the £1.3 billion Reform Programme launched by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). This has unlocked the funding for new technologies that can modernise the way in which we deliver justice.
In 2020, the pandemic also led to rapid changes, as court buildings across the country had to close and legal proceedings were conducted almost entirely via video and audio technologies. This re-enforced the necessity for change and provided us with a great opportunity to reassess and modernise how we can deliver open justice by harnessing new technologies available in the modern age.
This government is committed to upholding open justice and we continue to implement new services and changes which strengthen the scrutiny and transparency of the justice system.
We are therefore launching this call for evidence to gain your views on how we can support and strengthen the openness of our court and tribunal services. Recognising the challenging fiscal environment, this exercise will help us target our limited resources where they can have the biggest impact. If you are interested, then we would be delighted to hear from you, and I encourage you to respond. It is important that we hear from a wide range of views to inform the government’s future strategy on this important area.
Mike Freer MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice "
To find out more about the consultation process, and look at the questions, please click HERE.
They are inviting respondents to email their responses to the questions in the call for evidence to Openjusticepolicy@justice.gov.uk
Closing date for your response 7th September 2023