Flexible working is a hot topic among professional firms these days, the strictures of the traditional 9-5 working model becoming gradually eroded by the realities of modern life and the successive developments in communication technology. As law firms and others increasingly take advantage of the benefits of flexible working; pilots by the Law Society have identified a number of issues in the extension of in opening times of the Courts.
These issues are ultimately systemic; with cases, for example, requiring a level of preparation prior to the commencement of the case regardless of the time it begins. Being forced to arrive earlier to prepare and staying late at night can negatively impact their work-life balance, in an area of law that has suffered low morale as result of government cuts.
A government pilot to extend court opening hours could heap more pressure on fragile criminal legal aid services, the Law Society of England and Wales warned today. Despite the limits of the pre-election period, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have decided to establish "local implementation groups" to explore the feasibility of extending court operating hours.