HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is planning to step up its implementation of the case management system to support the Single Justice Service (SJS).
It has published a procurement notice for support in further developing the Crime Programme Automated Track Case Management (ATCM) system that underpins the SJS and enables magistrates to manage cases digitally.
The service is already being used for cases prosecuted by Transport for London (TfL) and in a pilot for TV licensing cases, and HMCTS is now looking to add further functions so it can be used by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and non-police prosecutors.
This could apply to about 850,000 level offences per year, with the ATCM enabling prosecutors to create cases while court administrators could update details and magistrates use the system for adjudication.
There are also plans for an interface with an online service enabling defendants to enter pleas.
HMCTS expects the effort to run until August 2020 with a possible extension of six months.
The SJS allows for a single magistrate sitting with a legal adviser to process adult summary-only, non-imprisonable offences for guilty please and ‘proof in absence’ cases, such as speeding, failure to pay vehicle excise duty and fare evasion.
It has been in operation at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court for TfL cases since April 2017 and has included an online plea service for relevant cases since April 2018.
According to an HMCTS blogpost from last November, a user feedback survey showed that 77% were highly satisfied with the service.
Image by Tim Green, CC BY 2.0 flickr