Civil and Family Justice Review

The Lord Chief Justice announced the launch of a Review of Civil and Family Justice, led by Lord Justice Gillen, at the start of the new legal year on 7 September 2015.

The aim of the Review was to look fundamentally at current procedures for the administration of civil and family justice, with a view to: 

  • improving access to justice;
  • achieving better outcomes for court users, particularly for children and young people; 
  • creating a more responsive and proportionate system; and
  • making better use of available resources, including through the use of new technologies and greater opportunities for digital working.

The main areas to be covered by the review were as follows:

  • the jurisdiction of the small claims and county courts
  • the types of business that should be conducted within these jurisdictions 
  • the use of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, including online options (for example, online dispute resolution)
  • opportunities to facilitate and provide support to unrepresented parties
  • the workings of the family justice system
  • the scale costs system and options for the proportionate recovery of costs
  • opportunities for more proportionate use of evidence 
  • opportunities to streamline court procedures and improve case management, including for the transfer of business between court tiers and the potential for a single entry point for all non-criminal claims 
  • invocation of modern technology into the court process

Formal launch of the Reports of the Review of Civil and Family Justice - 5 September 2017

The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, the Right Honourable Sir Declan Morgan, and the most senior judge in the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Gillen, launched two reports produced by a Review Group established to undertake a fundamental review of the civil and family justice systems in this jurisdiction​.The reports and a copy of Lord Justice Gillen’s address are available​.

Civil and Family Justice Review documentation and Reports