We have frequently called for accessible, easy-to-understand information for lay court users to give them greater confidence when navigating the justice system and to help those who may feel intimated and confused ahead of the process.
Understanding Courts (2019) recommended that any hearing attendees should have better information, whilst Immigration and Asylum Appeals – a Fresh Look (2018) recommended similar materials. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been reason to increase our advocacy for such resources, particularly ones which are specific to the remote hearings, as lay people try to engage with their court and tribunal hearings virtually using new digital processes which have been taking place.
Working in consultation with some of our Immigration and Asylum Appeals working party members, judiciary and some external NGOs, we developed a video script for court users about to attend a remote video hearing. We are pleased to see that HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have incorporated many of our suggestions in their final video which is targeted at all civil, family or tribunal hearings, and hope that we see more clear and accessible information in a wide range of formats in the future.