The entire structure of the civil courts in England and Wales will come under scrutiny as part of a judge-led review.
The judicial office today confirmed the terms of reference for a review led by Lord Justice Briggs which will produce an interim report by the end of this year.
The lord chief justice and master of the rolls ordered the review last month to create a modern, efficient and accessible civil dispute resolution service. The review will have to deal with the issue of how to deal with budget cuts, an increase in litigants in person and proposed closure of county courts across the country. The civil courts have also seen significant fee increases this year to help fund the running of the court service.
The terms of reference include a call to review the boundaries between the civil courts and the family court, tribunals services and other private providers of civil dispute resolution services.
Briggs will also make recommendations for structural change, including how the government’s reform programme will be integrated into the present structure of the civil courts.
The report will make particular proposals for the deployment of judges and delegated judicial officers to particular classes of case.
The judicial office said Briggs will consult with judges, the professions and stakeholders as the timeframe allows.
Briggs is a Court of Appeal judge and was previously in charge of the Chancery modernisation review published in 2013. He has also been the Personal Support Unit liaison judge since 2013.