Courts in England and Wales are to extend the use of smartphone ID app for legal professionals to enter their buildings without full security checks.
The move comes after a pilot in 10 courts, which began last September, won an 86% satisfaction rating.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has now said the use of the app under the Professional User Access Scheme will be extended to five additional courts this month and to most courts and tribunals by 2020.
It works through scanning a barcode on the app, backed up by a photograph of the user, and is aimed at easing queues to get into the buildings and giving security staff more time to focus on other court users. Random searches will be carried out to ensure the scheme is working as intended.
The app was developed by the Bar Council and so far registrations have been made through its MyBar portal for barristers. HMCTS said it is now working with other legal associations to make it more widely available.
Chair of the Bar Council Richard Atkins QC said: “A lot of hard work and investment has gone into developing this scheme. It will be of immense benefit to members of the Bar who will hopefully now gain quicker access to the courts and tribunals in which they work and perform a vital public duty.
“I hope that the roll out will be completed as quickly as possible.”
The five courts joining the scheme from 22 May are Manchester Minshull Street and crown courts in York, Reading, Guildford and Cardiff. Those where it is already in place are magistrates’ courts in Brighton and Tameside, crown courts in Chester, Maidstone, Nottingham, Southwark, St Albans and Swansea and Portsmouth Combined Court.
It will not be used in courts hearing terrorist or high security cases.
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