The Civil Procedure Rules remain temporarily accessible on the old justice.gov.uk website as justice minister Lord David Wolfson promised to ensure that their new home would be more user-friendly.
The CPR have long been available on the Ministry of Justice’s old website, along with the other procedure rules, as well as certain courts and probation guidance, including daily court lists.
But it emerged last week that this is being closed down and transferred to uk.gov, which hosts all government websites, but they require far more clicks and knowledge of what the reader is looking for to navigate.
Lord Wolfson responded on Twitter to say that officials were urgently reviewing the complaints made by practitioners.
In an update he posted yesterday, he said: “While we work to improve the CPR pages on the main gov.uk site, we’ve removed the redirects from justice.gov.uk. The original pages are again accessible and operable. I hope that deals with the immediate access to justice issue.
“Going forward, we are working on several improvements to the gov.uk site, and I’ll provide updates in due course. In particular, the CPR will be more easily viewable as a single document and also searchable. And we are looking at the Family PRs too.
“In doing that work, we’ve considered all the various suggestions and comments made in this and related threads, for which thanks again. We won’t please everyone – not least because some suggestions contradict others (as might be expected from lawyers).
“We are determined to make sure that Rules of court and related practice directions remain easily accessible to everyone, and not just (but including) lawyers. That’s an important part of a society governed by the #RuleOfLaw.”
Responding to complaints about how the court lists have gone to gov.uk and made less accessible as well, HM Courts & Tribunals Service explained on Twitter that the move was needed “as the justice website no longer meets mandatory accessibility and security requirements”.
It added: “The lists are temporarily published as PDF documents while we improve accessibility and navigation. We’ve also put in place signposts so anyone using old links will be automatically redirected to the new pages.”
Responding to Lord Wolfson’s tweets, high-profile human rights barrister Adam Wagner wrote: “This is excellent ministerial service – concerns raised in the legal press and Twitter about the move of the Civil Procedure Rules to a clunky new site have been acted on and temporarily reversed. And the minister is giving updates on Twitter.”
Leading employment barrister Daniel Barnett added: “This is what happens when a sensible and experienced barrister is appointed to a senior role in the Ministry of Justice. Thank you.”