Penelope Gibbs Profile picture
Penelope's passion is to improve UK justice. Leads charity (email there). Also visiting fellow @kelloggox, chair @AA_NAAN
Dec 8, 2023 13 tweets 3 min read
Attempt to observe a criminal appeal to sentence already going wrong through no fault of own. Courtserve said cases happening at RCJ. Get there well in time to be told courtserve had wrong info and is at Inner London Crown Court which is a long way away. Have missed start of case Facing another intimidating security check....when I get there
Jun 23, 2023 11 tweets 3 min read
Transform Justice has long challenged @HMCTSgovuk digital court reform programme - not because we're anti tech but because we've been concerned at the effect of remote & online processes on effective participation, judicial outcomes & open justice. Hardly any judges were consulted on the programme before it was agreed & government & judiciary have doubtless rued the day they excluded most judges from the decision making process. Because most judges have significant concerns about digital justice.
Feb 23, 2023 8 tweets 3 min read
Twitter has been alive for months with concerns about the Common Platform, a system for sharing court files digitally in Magistrates' courts. A new report from National Audit Office details a car crash in the development & introduction of the system. Work on CP started in 2017 Development was supposed to be agile - based on user needs & tested at every stage so problems could be ironed out. But agile hasn't prevented bugs & glitches in the system as introduced. To quote @NAOorguk
Jul 26, 2021 9 tweets 2 min read
Roll up, roll up for some radical & totally untested, changes to the criminal justice system which HMCTS have been trying to get into legislation since 2017. Judicial Review & Courts Bill slipped in last week. No consultation except on Judicial Review, no White Paper, no research Justification that changes "will make the criminal courts more easily accessible to users & provide greater flexibility for the effective deployment of its resources; saving court time, reducing delays, delivering swifter justice, and supporting recovery"…
Jul 3, 2020 11 tweets 2 min read
Should remote hearings/consultations become the new normal? I am totally sympathetic to lawyers who want to do hearings remotely because they have childcare or shielding issues. Or because they feel the courts are not clean enough. Its crazy to get a lawyer in court for 5 mins Procedural/admin & hearings between professional people seem fine remote (see research from Civil Justice Council) but when "ordinary" people are remote from their lawyers, for pre-hearing consultation/hearing itself, all evidence suggests their effective participation is impeded
Jun 17, 2020 19 tweets 4 min read
Hooray. Have accessed a magistrates' court remotely to observe. 1st time. Will reveal name later. All except magistrates & legal adviser appearing remotely. Sound from court poor, v. distant. Not sure defendant would be able to hear. He's unrepresented yet accused domestic abuse Unrepresented man doesn't know own postcode (to receive disclosure by post). Proposing to defend himself. Next case also unrepresented. Says just wants to get it over & done with. It's possession bladed article so glad he has agreed to consult duty. But why not persuaded before?
Jun 8, 2020 21 tweets 5 min read
Visits to mags' courts today. Just arrived at Stratford to be told that tho court is technically open there is no public access. Asked to see the security guard's manager & was told the same story. No access. They said they only had one court running & there was no list available Having travelled across London to Stratford mags not best pleased. Mags court lists not available to public & no digital public gallery so no alternative to turning up #openjustice #onlinecourts
Jan 21, 2020 14 tweets 4 min read
Broadcasting any part of Crown Court proceedings is a big step. Many have voiced reservations. As ever am interested in evidence & haven't seen any theory of change from @MoJGovUK as to how the positive effect will work. But we do have some evidence of potential negative effect Last year Sarah Moore of @UniofBath & colleagues published Seeing Justice Done, a paper on filming criminal court proceedings. They started from the (sensible) premise that the way something is filmed makes a difference to people's understanding & views of it.
Oct 12, 2018 14 tweets 4 min read
This tale of injustice is caused by a judge's prejudice against a defendant & her child. Thanks to @F_E_Smith (anonymous like @barristersecret) for drawing attention. I'm not going to name the judge because I'm against naming & shaming individuals - the problem is system Credit to… for appealing this case which rested on the poor behaviour of the judge leading to an unfair trial. Case was against the partner of a prisoner for smuggling items into prison.She pleaded guilty to smuggling a sim card but denied bringing in drugs
Jul 20, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
this thread is simply of verbatim quotes from damning report on the £1.2 billion digital court reform programme (justice by skype, swipe right to plead guilty etc) from @CommonsPAC… We have little confidence HMCTS can successfully deliver this hugely ambitious programme to bring court system into the modern age. While other countries have attempted elements of what HMCTS is doing, no other country has attempted to change its whole system at this scale/pace.
May 1, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read
thread on unrepresented defendants in the Crown Court. Why was the government so opposed to publish report (which for many months only I externally knew existed)? Think because it implies that unrepresented defs do not get a fair trial & legal aid threshold not cost-effective Pity so little research on unrepresented defendants. No data collection on numbers in mags & no research with defendants. No data on how many trials in Crown involve unrepresented defendants