Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service

Last updated
Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service
HM Courts & Tribunals Service.png
Corporate logo of HM Courts and Tribunals Service
Agency overview
Formed2011;10 years ago (2011)
Preceding agencies
Type Executive agency
JurisdictionAll courts and tribunals in England and Wales
Non-devolved tribunals in Scotland and Northern Ireland
Headquarters 102 Petty France
London, SW1
Employees21,000
Annual budget£1.7 billion (gross) [1]
Minister responsible
  • Lucy Frazer QC MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid
Agency executive
Parent department Ministry of Justice
Key document
Website www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmcts/
Map
England and Wales within the UK and Europe.svg
England and Wales in the UK and Europe

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. It was created on 1 April 2011 by the merger of Her Majesty's Courts Service and the Tribunals Service. [2]

Contents

The agency is responsible for the administration of the courts of England and Wales, the Probate Service and tribunals in England and Wales and non-devolved tribunals in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It works from about 600 locations across the United Kingdom. [2]

Role

The Framework Document for Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service says its aim is "to run an efficient and effective courts and tribunals system, which enables the rule of law to be upheld and provides access to justice for all." The courts over which it has responsibility are the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Crown Court, the magistrates' courts, and the county courts.

The agency is responsible for the administration of all chambers of the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal, together with the employment tribunals and certain other tribunals which the Tribunals Service was responsible for serving, such as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission.

The Supreme Court has a separate administration from the other courts of England and Wales, and its administration is under a Chief Executive who is appointed by the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. [3] [4] [5]

Accountability

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service remains operationally independent, and the responsibility for overseeing the leadership and direction of the agency rests with its Board, three of whose members are judicial officeholders and one of whom is Senior Presiding Judge. The Chief Executive is responsible for the day-to-day operations and administration of the agency, and is the Accounting Officer for the agency.

The Lord Chancellor is required by section 1 of the Courts Act 2003 and section 39 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 to ensure there is an efficient and effective system to support the carrying on of the business of courts and tribunals, and it is to the Lord Chancellor that the agency is accountable, and the Lord Chancellor is in turn responsible for accounting for its operations to Parliament.

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service is an executive agency, in contrast with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service which is a non-ministerial government department. However, it is unique in being such an agency and having constitutional accountability to judges as well as the Lord Chancellor. The framework document says that the agency is accountable to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the Senior President of Tribunals. This provides a unique partnership between all three in relation to the effective governance, financing and operation of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service. For example, where the Board cannot reach agreement, its Chair will refer the issue in question to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice for a decision.

Any amendment of the framework document must be agreed between all parties, and laid before Parliament. Furthermore, the Lord Chief Justice (and the Senior President) is entitled to terminate the partnership if either concludes that it is no longer compatible with his constitutional position or the independence of the judiciary. By doing so, a report will be presented before both Houses of Parliament of that fact, and the governance of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service will revert to a conventional agency model reporting directly to the Lord Chancellor unless and until a new model is agreed between the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice or a different legislative framework is put in place. [6]

Money Claim Online

Money Claim Online (MCOL) is a UK government Internet-based service by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service for claimants and defendants in England and Wales. It states that it is "a convenient and secure way of making or responding to a money claim on the Internet". [7] The claim must be made by a single claimant against at most two people or organisations, and must be for a fixed amount not exceeding £100,000. [8]

You can make a money claim if you think a person or organisation owes you money and will not pay you back. You’ll have to pay a fee. Before making a claim, contact the person or organisation to try to resolve the issue by discussion or mediation. Your claim, including your name and address, will be sent to the person you say owes you money. They’ll get a chance to respond to your claim. [9]

Chief Executives

Interpreter service

The service privatised their language interpretation service in 2011, giving a contract to Capita Translation and Interpreting. Figures released to The Guardian in 2016 show that over 2,600 court cases were adjourned because of a failure to provide an adequate interpreter in the previous five years. [14]

From 31 October 2016 these services have been delivered under four separate Lots through the following providers:

Most translation into Welsh and Welsh-English interpretation is sourced through HMCTS’ own Welsh Language Unit.

Statistics on the use of language interpreter and translation services in courts and tribunals forms part of the quarterly Criminal Court Statistics available through the GOV.UK website.

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References

  1. "About Us". Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service. Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service". Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  3. Court, The Supreme. "Mark Ormerod to be Supreme Court's Chief Executive - The Supreme Court". www.supremecourt.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  4. Court, The Supreme. "Executive Team - The Supreme Court". www.supremecourt.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  5. "Constitutional Reform Act 2005: Section 48", legislation.gov.uk , The National Archives, 2005 c. 4 (s. 48)
  6. "Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service Framework Document" (PDF). Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  7. "MCOL - Money Claim Online". HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  8. "MCOL - User Guide for Claimants" (PDF). HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  9. "Make a money claim online - GOV.UK". UK Government. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  10. "Peter Handcock CBE". GOV.UK. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  11. 1 2 "UK courts chief to leave job after just over a year". The Guardian . 5 May 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  12. "New Chief Executive for Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service". GOV.UK. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  13. "Kevin Sadler CBE". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  14. correspondent, Owen Bowcott Legal affairs (4 May 2016). "Thousands of court cases adjourned due to failures in interpreting services" via The Guardian.