EHRC Briefing - Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill - Commons second reading
EHRC has released a briefing on the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill - Commons second reading.
This briefing provides our advice for parliamentarians to ensure the provisions in the Bill comply with the right to a fair trial protected under the Human Rights Act 1998 (Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights), and that they help rather than hinder courts and tribunals to meet the needs of those with characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010.
The provisions in the Bill are part of a much broader programme to make significant changes to the justice system, including how and where court hearings take place. Proposed changes include the introduction of video hearings and online courts, underpinned by the closure of many court buildings across the estate. The Bill presents an opportunity to ensure the Government’s approach to court reform promotes compliance with human rights standards and equal access to justice.
In this briefing, we recommend that:
- the Bill should be amended to provide safeguards to ensure compliance with fair trial rights
- the programme of court reform should be accompanied by a sound evidence base and an assessment of the cumulative impact on access to justice for different groups sharing protected characteristics.