The Court of Appeal Civil Division has published its annual Report today, reflecting a steady year of progress in the handling of its business and cases during the period 2004–5.
The past year has seen a number of developments in all areas of the Court of Appeal’s work and key areas for development have included the launch of the Court’s revamped website, and improvements to the organisation of asylum and immigration cases.
The revamped website, launched in the Spring of 2005, has become an invaluable tool both for litigants and their legal advisors about practical aspects of the court’s work and the forms currently in use.
It also contains lists of the court’s leading judgments over the past few years, with hyperlinks to the transcripts. There are also easy links to the Civil Procedures Rules and to the BAILII site, where all the court’s recent judgments on substantive appeals are published. There is also a list of judges and senior staff, including biographical notes.
In a statement today, on the publication of the annual report, Sir Anthony Clarke, Master of the Rolls, said:
“The Court’s Users’ Committee has asked me to take this opportunity of saying something about the very large volume of valuable information that has become available on this website since it was relaunched in an expanded form a year ago.
“The website contains a lot of practical information about the day to day business of the court: the staff to contact, Questions and Answers about matters of practice and procedure, and information about the court’s mediation scheme, the Personal Support Unit and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, which help so many of our litigants. It also contains links to a mass of information that is of value to lawyers and judges.”
The site also includes an inter-active guide to routes of appeal. A litigant who wishes to appeal against a judgment of a district judge in the multi-track, or a circuit judge in the fast track, for instance, can ascertain the correct appeal court by using this simple guide.
More recently, a “virtual tour” of a Court of Appeal courtroom has been added, together with plans of how to reach the Civil Appeal Office’s offices from the main door of the Royal Courts of Justice.
The Right Honourable Lord Justice Brooke, Vice-President of the Court of Appeal, said:
“I am particularly pleased with the redevelopment of the Court of Appeal website. There has been effective collaboration between the team and everyone concerned with the court – including the office lawyers and the judges. The website team have been winning many international plaudits for the quality of their work, which they richly deserve.”
Another key area of the Court of Appeal’s work that has seen progress over the past year is in handling asylum and immigration appeals.
With the many developments and changes to asylum law and practice in the past two years, including major decisions of the House of Lords on the effect of the Human Rights Act in this field, one of the court’s office lawyers produced an Immigration and Asylum Bench BookThis book is now published on the court’s website.
Updated once a term, the book contains up-to-date details of case law, statutes and procedural rules as reference materialfor the group of lords justices to whom ‘permission to appeal’ applications are sent.
The court has hosted visits from a number of distinguished international visitors – judges, politicians, lawyers and academics – interested in learning from the court’s procedures and experience.
The annual report also describes other noteworthy developments over the past year such as Alternative Dispute Resolution via the court’s mediation scheme and family mediation service – both of which are expected to develop.
The full Annual Review is available on the HM Courts Service website.