It is an absolute pleasure to follow my hon. Friend John Howell, and I am very pleased to speak on Second Reading of the Bill, which is part of a wider programme of reforms to our judicial system. In 2016, there was a joint statement about the reform programme from the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior President of Tribunals saying that the reforms would combine
“our respected traditions with the enabling power of technology. The vision is to modernise and upgrade our justice system so that it works even better for everyone, from judges and legal professionals, to witnesses, litigants and the vulnerable victims of crime. When they have to engage with the system, we want everyone to have available to them the finest justice system in the world.”
That is absolutely right. That is what we want from these reforms; we want a system that works for everybody and is more accessible to everybody.
I also want to bring the attention of the House to what Susan Acland-Hood, the chief executive of the Courts and Tribunals Service said about this:
“Our ambitious programme of court reform aims to bring new technology and modern ways of working to what is—and will remain—the best justice system in the world.”
That is absolutely right. We want to make our fantastic and world-renowned justice system the best in the world. She also says:
“We know our systems and processes haven’t always kept pace with the rapid technological developments…around us.”
That is the key point that is so important for our courts, our tribunal services and our justice system. They very much need to remain relevant, in time and in touch with technological change and it is important that we have that as we move forward.
The Bill is about delivering on those significant reforms to the Courts and Tribunals Service. It includes proposals to develop high-quality digital services, which are so important as we move towards a more digitised age. People are now so used to using digital technologies.