Long publishes plan to deliver vital change to the civil and family justice system

Date published: 04 August 2021

Justice Minister Naomi Long today published a Plan for modernisation of the civil and family justice system.

Justice Minister Naomi Long

The Delivery Plan details actions to be taken during the remainder of the current mandate to the Northern Ireland Assembly and focuses on two key priorities of making the system more accessible for citizens; and making the system fairer, more proportionate and more responsive.

Speaking at the launch of the Delivery Plan, Naomi Long said “Civil and family justice touches the lives of many more citizens than the criminal justice system often at a point when they are facing some of life’s most significant challenges and I want to do all I can to support them to resolve their disputes as quickly, fairly and inexpensively as possible through proportionate and accessible means.”

“The Delivery Plan published today sets out the initial steps being taken by the Department to achieve that goal. Given the short mandate I am focusing initially on matters that can generate more immediate benefits for citizens and those which will help set the framework for future reform.”

“Good progress has already been made with the installation of enhanced video and audio technology in court rooms, the launch of an online probate portal, the introduction of enhanced protections for victims of domestic abuse in family courts and the introduction of a Bill to ensure parties in personal injury cases receive 100% compensation.”

“The Delivery Plan will continue to build on that good work evolving over time as we learn from initial actions, consultations and concept testing initiatives. Next steps will include trialling alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and enhancing the information and supports available to litigants in person, vulnerable court users and children.” 

The publication of the Modernisation Delivery Plan follows a statement to the Assembly on the 23 March, in which Minister Long set out her priorities for modernisation of civil and family justice for the remainder of this Assembly mandate.

The plan is available at the publication section of this website

Notes to editors: 

  1. Publication of the Modernisation Delivery Plan follows a statement the Minister of Justice made to the Assembly on 23 March detailing priorities for civil and family justice modernisation for the remainder of the Assembly mandate.  The introduction of enhanced protections for victims of domestic abuse was brought forward in the Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (Northern Ireland) 2021 (c.2). The Damages (Return on Investment) Bill which was introduced to the Assembly on 1 March to ensure parties in personal injury cases receive 100% compensation for injuries.
  2. Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email at: press.office@justice-ni.gov.uk
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted out of hours on 028 9037 8110.

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