Summing up

HMCTS needs to be much more open to public scrutiny. It refused to allow me and another reporter to attend a “roadshow for legal professionals” held in May 2018.1 Senior judges were amazed when they heard this. Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals and a member of the HMCTS board, said it was “frankly appalling”.2

The NAO report of May 2018 should be a wake-up call to HMCTS. With goodwill on all sides, there is still time to put the reform programme back on track.

The gap in understanding of this £1bn public project has been filled, to some extent, by the NAO and the judiciary. In June 2018, HMCTS provided a briefing for two journalists.

But it is still difficult to know how much progress is being made — not least because only a small part of the necessary legislation has reappeared.

I shall continue to monitor developments and update this paper in the coming months. My misgivings are much greater now than when I started work on this project. I hope I shall be proved wrong.