SCYJ responded to the Justice Select Committee inquiry into the Access to Justice impacts of courts and tribunals reform.
Our response focuses on the HMCTS Reform Programme in the criminal courts as it affects child defendants, especially on the use of video links and online pleas.
We believe the use of video links and online pleas, along with the closure of courts, will negatively impact access to justice for children in trouble with the law. We are concerned by the approach taken by HMCTS, such as the lack of research, impact assessment, information sharing, public consultation and stakeholder engagement on key elements of the reform programme. When the programme began there appeared to be a complete lack of consideration of the needs of children as a distinct and vulnerable group, although we believe they are now taking some steps to address this.
Read our response here.