Court staff to strike at Christmas in 'significant escalation' of Common Platform dispute

Legal advisers and court associates at 76 courts will go on strike over the festive period
Basildon Combined Court: One of the new courts to join the action. Photo: Philip sayer/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

12 Dec 2022

HM Courts and Tribunals Service officials will take further strike action this Christmas in a dispute over rollout of the Common Platform IT system.

Civil service union PCS today served the HM Courts and Tribunals Service notice of further strike action from 24 December to 4 January, after more legal advisers and court associates voted to strike.

This is the latest in a series of walkouts across the country's courts this month and earlier this year.

Officials in 76 courts have now voted for strike action, after a third tranche of PCS members voted overwhelmingly in favour. Some 97% of ballot members in the latest vote supported walkouts, which means legal advisers and court associates in five extra courts have now joined the strikes. PCS called this a “significant escalation” of the dispute.

Common Platform allows parties including the judiciary, solicitors and barristers, the Crown Prosecution Service and court staff to access case information.

But PCS says there has been an “alarming increase in reports of stress and anxiety and long working” since the system’s introduction. The union has called for HMCTS to carry out an organisational risk assessment of Common Platform and a stress survey of all users of the system.

PCS says no cases should be inputted to Common Platform until this is done, and is also calling no further job losses related to the introduction of the platform.

HMCTS has previously told CSW: “Common Platform is fundamental to modernising the court system – replacing out-of-date systems and freeing up court staff so we can better deliver justice for all.

“We will continue to work closely with all staff to support them through the transition. We want to thank all the court staff, judges and others who have contributed to its design and implementation so far.”

HMCTS paused the rollout of Common Platform in September in some areas in an attempt to resolve the dispute but ended the suspension in early October, with the union responding with more strike action. Walkouts have already taken place on 2-5 and 9-12 December and more have been announced for 16-19 December.

Strikes taking place between 24 December and 4 January will involve legal advisers and court associates in the following courts:

  • Aberystwyth Justice Centre
  • Aldershot Justice Centre
  • Barrow-In-Furness Magistrates' Court
  • Basildon Combined Court
  • Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court
  • Beverley Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Birmingham Magistrates' Court
  • Bolton Magistrates' Court
  • Bradford & Keighley Magistrates' & Family Court
  • Brighton Magistrates' Court
  • Bristol Magistrates' Court and Tribunals Hearing Centre
  • Caernarfon Justice Centre
  • Cambridge Magistrates’ Court
  • Cannock Magistrates’ Court
  • Cardiff Magistrates’ Court
  • Carlisle Magistrates' Court
  • Chesterfield Justice Centre
  • Coventry Magistrates' Court
  • Crawley Magistrates’ Court
  • Crewe (South Cheshire) Magistrates' Court
  • Derby Magistrates' Court
  • Dudley Courthouse (County, Mags, Family)
  • Durham County Court and Family Court
  • Ealing Magistrates’ Court
  • Folkestone Magistrates Court
  • Gateshead Law Courts
  • Grimsby Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Guildford Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Hastings Magistrates' Court
  • Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court
  • Hereford Justice Centre
  • High Wycombe Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • HMCTS Osprey House
  • Hull and Holderness Magistrates’ Court and Hearing Centre
  • Ipswich Magistrates’ Court
  • Kidderminster Magistrates' Court
  • Kirklees (Huddersfield) Magistrates & Family Court
  • Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court
  • Leeds Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Lincoln Magistrates' Court
  • Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court
  • Liverpool Civil and Family Court
  • Llanelli Magistrates' Court
  • Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates' Court
  • Maidstone Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Manchester Magistrates’ Court
  • Mansfield Magistrates’ and County Court
  • Medway Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Merthyr Tydfil Combined Court Centre
  • Mid and South East Northumberland Law Courts
  • Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court and Family Court
  • Mold Justice Centre
  • Newport (South Wales) Magistrates’ Court
  • Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court
  • North Somerset Magistrates' Court
  • North Staffordshire Justice Centre
  • North Tyneside Magistrates' Court
  • Norwich Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Nottingham Magistrates Court
  • Oxford Magistrates' Court
  • Peterborough Magistrates' Court
  • Portsmouth Magistrates' Court
  • Reading Magistrates' Court and Family Court
  • Salisbury Law Courts
  • Sefton Magistrates’ Court
  • South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court
  • St Albans Magistrates' Court
  • Staines Magistrates’ Court and Family Court
  • Stevenage Magistrates Court
  • Sunderland County, Family, Magistrates’, and Tribunals Hearings
  • Swindon Magistrates' Court
  • Tameside Magistrates’ Court
  • Taunton Magistrates’ Court, Tribunals and Family Hearing Centre
  • Teesside Magistrates' Court
  • Telford Magistrates' Court
  • Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court
  • Walsall Magistrates' Court
  • Warrington Magistrates’ Court
  • Warwick Combined Court
  • West Hampshire Magistrates' Court
  • Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court
  • Willesden Magistrates’ Court
  • Wimbledon Magistrates' Court
  • Worcester Justice Centre
  • Worthing Magistrates’ Court
  • Yeovil County, Family and Magistrates’ Court

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