The Unified Courts Administration Programme
A Government White Paper ‘Justice for All’, published in 2002, recommended that instead of the Magistrates’ Courts Service and Court Service being administered separately, a single agency should be developed, supporting the delivery of justice in all courts in England and Wales.
The Courts Act 2003 provided the legal framework that enabled the changes to be made.
The Unified Courts Administration Programme was set up to create the new agency which was launched on 1 April 2005.
The focus of the Programme was to devise a system which would offer improved and consistent services to court users by providing:
- A single national agency solely responsible for the delivery of court services with improved and more consistent level of service to court users
- More resources available to support the delivery of justice.
- Greater flexibility in the use of court buildings.
On 31 March 2005, responsibility for the 42 existing Magistrates’ Courts Committees and Court Service passed to Her Majesty’s Courts Service.
A Chief Executive heads the agency and is accountable for the agency’s performance through Ministers to Parliament.
Court Services in England and Wales are administered by 7 regions responsible for 42 local areas. The areas are managed by Area Directors, responsible for the delivery of local services. They work in partnership with Courts Boards to ensure that the Agency is focussed on its customers and is meeting local needs.
The agency puts users of the service at the forefront of everything they do as part of a modern organisation delivering first class public services.