Flexible Operating Hours in Criminal Courts Abandoned
Following extensive lobbying by the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and practitioners, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is abandoning plans to introduce Flexible Operating Hours (FOH) in the criminal courts.
The reforms suggested that some hearings would start at 8am and the court would remain open until 8pm. The CBA argued that FOH would adversely impact criminal barristers with young families and in turn would be discriminatory. Joining the current Chair of the CBA, Chris Henley Q.C. in voicing the injustice of the proposed changes, was Trinity Silk and CBA Vice Chair, Caroline Goodwin Q.C. Prior to their appointment, their predecessor, Trinity Door Tenant, Francis FitzGibbon Q.C. also campaigned vigorously against the proposed reforms.
The campaign was helped by the results of a CBA member survey, highlighting the significant impact the changes would have on practitioners’ day to day lives. The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it still plans to test early and late sittings in civil and family courts.
As well as being Vice Chair of the CBA and Crown Court Recorder, Caroline Goodwin Q.C. also heads up Trinity’s Criminal Practice Group.