Modernisation Plan For NI's Civil And Family Justice System

Northern Ireland's civil and family justice system is to modernised, with Justice Minister Naomi publishing a 'Delivery Plan'.

The 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.
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"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."

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