Following the pilot testing for a professional entry scheme at a limited number of courts, designed to reduce queues and grant legal professionals easier access to court buildings, the Bar Council is extending use of the scheme.
The scheme allows practising legal professionals direct entrance to courts without the need to be searched will be piloted by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) in five courts. The Bar Council has led the development of an app for its members to use as ID, and Law Society members will benefit from the pilot, using approved photo ID. The scheme recognises the trusted status of legal professionals without compromising security and is supported by the judiciary. Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, Lucy Frazer said ‘courts and tribunals are the daily workplace for many trusted legal professionals. This pilot will make it easier for them to simply get on with their job.’
When the pilot completes in December, it will be evaluated and if deemed successful will be extended nationally and could be extended to other professional groups. Throughout the pilot, the Bar Council has also been testing an app that it has developed to give its members a digital ‘id card’, which can be scanned by court security officers. From Monday 26 November 2018, Bar Council members who have registered for the app will be able to use it at the five additional courts in Chester, Nottingham,Portsmouth, St Albans, and Swansea Crown Court. The first five courts taking part in the pilot are in Brighton, Maidstone, Southwark, Tameside, and Wood Green.