Definitions

service court

Her Majesty's Courts Service

Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) is an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and is responsible for the administration of the civil, family and criminal courts in England and Wales.

It was created by the amalgamation of the Magistrates' Courts Service and the Court Service as a result of the Unified Courts Administration Programme. It came into being on 1 April 2005.

HMCS Structure

Her Majesty's Courts Service carries out the administration and support for the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Crown Court, the Magistrates' Courts, the County Courts and the Probate Service in England and Wales.

Court services are administered by 7 regions responsible for 42 local areas. The areas are managed by Area Directors, responsible for the delivery of local services. They work in partnership with Courts Boards to ensure that the Agency is focussed on its customers and is meeting local needs.

Unified Courts Administration Programme

The Government White Paper "Justice for all", published in 2002, recommended the a single agency should be developed to support the delivery of justice in all courts in England and Wales, instead of the Magistrates' Courts Service and the Court Service being administered separately.

The Courts Act 2003 created the legal framework required to make the changes.


The focus of the Programme was to devise a system which would offer improved and consistent services to court users by providing:

  • A single national agency solely responsible for the delivery of court services with improved and more consistent level of service to court users
  • More resources available to support the delivery of justice
  • Greater flexibility in the use of court buildings.

On 31 March 2005, responsibility for the 42 existing Magistrates’ Courts Committees and Court Service passed to Her Majesty’s Courts Service.

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