Private firms may run courts

Private corporations tendering for the contract to run the UK's court computer systems could end up running most of the systems.

The process is already under way for a planned handover around May next year but despite a statutory requirement the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) has not consulted the judiciary in full on its plans.

The LCD has confirmed that details of the privatisation are in the two-part 'statement of requirement' tender document.

The first part describes the general elements required for privatisation.

But the second section invites companies to supply other services, undertake “total operation” of the three centres in Northampton and Cardiff, and support other LCD systems.

It includes running the criminal courts' Crest listing system and undertaking “routine administration elements” of Crown and County Court work, said the LCD.