HMCTS have confirmed the start date of the long awaited and controversial extended court hours pilot.

The pilot will operate for 6 months from 2 September 2019 at Brentford County Court and Manchester Civil Justice Centre. In Manchester, late sittings from 16:30 – 19:00 will hear civil and family work. In Brentford, there will be both early (8:00 – 9:30) and late (16:30 – 19:00) sittings hearing civil cases.

The extended hours pilot comes at a time when the Courts are under increasing pressure. The recently released Civil Justice Statistics for the 1st quarter of 2019 show a 4 week increase since the same period last year (now 37 weeks) in the average amount of time between a small claim being issued and heard. For fast and multi track claims, the time has increased by 2 weeks to 58.5 weeks, suggesting that the Courts have a growing back log of cases.