Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Archive for April 2011

Working at the coalface – first-tier tribunals; podcast

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In this podcast, I talk to Judge Alison McKenna, a judge in the First-Tier General Regulatory Tribunal.

Judge McKenna discusses the specialist work that she does in relation to appeals against decisions by the Charity Commission and explains why this work was removed from the Chancery Division of the High Court to a new Tribunal.

More detail about this work can be found at

She also reflects more generally on the working of the Tribunals system, and the flexibility the new system gives for her to sit in different tribunals, and also in the Upper Tier Tribunal.

Hear Judge McKenna at:


Written by lwtmp

April 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Posted in chapter 6, Podcasts

Family Proceedings Rules 2010

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On 6 April 2011, the Family Proceedings Rules 2010 came into effect. As a result the rules the supporting Practice Directions set out a comprehensive framework for the family jurisdiction. For the first time, family proceedings courts (i.e. magistrates’ courts dealing with family matters) will operate under the same set of rules as the High Court and the county court.

Sir Nicholas Wall, President of the Family Division, has written: “This will serve to improve even further the relationship between the family proceedings court and the county court.

The new framework, modelled on the approach to the Civil Procedure Rules, will contribute to a common understanding and approach across all three tiers of family court, resulting in a more streamlined system to serve court users well.”

For further details go to

Written by lwtmp

April 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Posted in chapter 7

What’s in a name? Merging courts and tribunals

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April 1 2011 sees two important changes to the infrastructure of the English Legal System.
The merger of the administrative functions of Her Majesty’s Court Service and the Tribunals Service is completed today. The new organisation will be known as Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). As I argue in the book, the great challenge will be to ensure that the distinctive ethos of the tribunals service – its procedural flexibility, its willingness to be more inquisitorial than courts, its ability to specialise – are not lost.
While this change was anticipated for some months, less publicised is the fact that, also from April 1 2011, the Judicial Studies Board no longer exists. This does not mean that judicial training is being abandoned. Far from it. The decision has been taken to merge the resources available for training judges in the courts with those available for training tribunal judges. These activities will now be taken forward by a new (virtual) Judicial College.

Written by lwtmp

April 1, 2011 at 8:10 am