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Digital Case System (DCS)

Common Platform – an update (22.05.23)

Improvements to Common Platform: changes to PET and BCM forms

Unfortunately it has been necessary for us to postpone these changes for the time being

Bulletin from HMCTS:

“As you know, we will be enhancing Common Platform by launching new digital versions of the Preparation for Effective Trial (PET) and Better Case Management (BCM) forms, and we had hoped to do so this week.

During final testing over the weekend, we identified issues with the release that meant the functionality was not working completely as it should. To make sure that these digital forms are performing as they need to, we’ve taken the decision to delay their introduction to get this right.

For now, please continue completing PET and BCM forms in the same way as you have done previously.

We are working to agree a revised date for implementation, and we will share this with you as soon as possible. Any preparation you have undertaken will obviously not go to waste and will be important when the new features are introduced.

We are sorry that we will not be able to introduce the new functionality as announced. We understand that this delay is frustrating – but must get the changes right to ensure that the system can operate effectively.

We very much appreciate the work that everyone has done to prepare. Please be assured that we will schedule the introduction of the new features as soon as we can, and we thank you for your patience.”

Common Platform – an update (12.05.23)

“an update for defence professionals – The system is now live in additional courts in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, and we are encouraging defence professionals based there to register in order that they can take advantage of the benefits”

Full information is here

Common Platform – an update (12.05.23)

Improvements to Common Platform: changes to PET and BCM forms

From Monday 22nd May, HM Courts & Tribunals Service will digitise the Preparation for Effective Trial (PET) and Better Case Management (BCM) forms used in magistrates’ court cases, and Common Platform users will be able to enter this data online. The new forms will be in use from Wednesday 24 May.

Common Platform will automatically generate a PDF document once each form is finalised in court and add it to the Case Material section.

Read guidance on how defence professionals can access and complete the revised PET and BCM forms.

You can also watch a video demonstrating how to use the digitised forms.

This change is part of work to link up Common Platform with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) case management system. The 2 applications will then be able to share information directly and securely. Further system improvements are scheduled to take place later in 2023.

Help and guidance for defence professionals using Common Platform

Get started using Common Platform to view and manage case details, or read guidance to find out more about using Common Platform effectively.

If you need help accessing case details, email the service centre or call 0330 808 4407.

You can also join one of HMCTS’ regular online support sessions for defence professionals.  The sessions take place on Tuesdays at 4:30pm and Thursdays at 9am.

Common Platform – an update (06.02.23)

“an update for defence professionals”

Full information is here

Common Platform – an update (21.02.22)

Full information is here

Register for a Common Platform Account – an update (31.08.21)

Common Platform is a new, criminal case management system for use by HMCTS staff, the judiciary, and professional court users – including defence professionals and the Crown Prosecution Service. 

The system is due to go live in more courts in Wales and the south-west soon, and we are encouraging defence professionals in the area to register in advance in order that they can take advantage of the benefits.

Full information is here

Register for a Common Platform Account (06.07.21)

Common Platform is a new, criminal case management system for use by HMCTS staff, the judiciary, and professional court users – including defence professionals and the Crown Prosecution Service. 

The system is due to go live in additional courts in the south-west soon, and HMCTS are encouraging defence professionals to register in advance in order that they can take advantage of the benefits.

Full information is here 

Also included is a series of links below that you may also find useful, and again:

HMCTS Update (06.05.21)

Digital Case System – invitation only case functionality

Updates have been made to the Crown Court Digital Case System (DCS) to allow restriction of access to cases of special sensitivity, such as terrorism cases, cases involving a member of the criminal justice system or a high-profile case (such as those with increased levels of media interest). From Monday 10 May, these cases can be set up so that access will be by ‘Invitation Only’.

Where HMCTS and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) disagree on the ‘sensitivity’ of a case, it should be referred to a judge for directions.

Upon receipt of a sensitive case from a magistrates’ court, HMCTS access co-ordinators will enable access for the assigned Judge, CPS, probation and the defence advocate. This is the same as a paper file in a high profile or terrorist case being retained in a secure manner at the home court, and only being accessed by those permitted to do so.

Where a case file is accessible by ‘Invitation Only’, anyone attempting to gain access who has not been authorised will see an alert on DCS stating that the case is ‘Invitation Only’ and will be provided with contact details to request access.

Access to DCS files can be modified at any point enabling new users to be added or existing ones to be removed. In addition, access can be granted for a set period after which specific users will not be able to view the information.

For further information about this new process or if you have a specific question please email [email protected]

s.28 Quick Start Guide for Video on Demand (20.04.21)

nb: Access to Video on Demand to view media is not in a friendly format and in addition it is not obvious that two text messages will be sent before the account email is received to confirm this is set up. Barristers are quite rightly considering the text messages to be spam/junk texts and deleting – this causes additional work for the Barrister as they will need to have the texts reissued.

s.28 Quick Start Guide

Register for a Common Platform Account (09.03.21)

Common Platform is a new, criminal case management system for use by HMCTS staff, the judiciary, and professional court users – including defence professionals and the Crown Prosecution Service.  You may already be aware that it is now rolling out to a series of ‘early adopter’ courts.

The system is due to go live in an area near you soon, and HMCTS are encouraging defence professionals to register in advance in order that they can take advantage of the benefits.

in addition,  a series of links below that may also be useful, and again:

Further details here – Updated 2nd June 

Further details here – Updated 13th May 

Further details here – Updated 7th May 

Full details here – Updated 29th April 


Update – Clickshare and CVP (01.02.21)

From Monday 15th February 2021, the Evidence Presentation System (EPS) will begin to replace Clickshare, the existing device used in the court room to present multi-media evidence. This is because Clickshare has reached its ‘end of life’ and the manufacturer technical support for the controlling software will lapse in April 2021. This poses a potential operational risk to some legal representatives including the following two key drawbacks;

  • Apple iOS and OSX updates have prevented Mac users from using ClickShare until a software fix is created by Barco and deployed by Vodafone support.
  • High-resolution, complex video footage does not playback smoothly owing to the inherent technology deployed by ClickShare.
The EPS technology (a cable and wireless solution) was successfully tested at Guildford Crown Court in November 2020 and the SPJ has signed off the proposed solution. Please note the CVP integration and the replacement of screen sizes in courts would be out of scope for this project.
The intention is to complete the Crown Courts by end of April and the magistrates’ courts by the end of July 2021

Update – Clickshare and CVP (29.01.21)

With so many developments in the Criminal Justice System’s increasing use of IT there is sometimes a lack of communication about what is happening and what may be about to.

This occasional series is intended to try to bridge that gap.


In its early days there were frequent complaints that “It doesn’t work with Macs”.  This actually wasn’t true, but the fault lay with the equipment in the courts not being updated as it should.  Recently however a problem has arisen.

The system was supposed to work by each dongle having the necessary software on it which would ‘play’ as soon as you plugged the dongle in.  With MacOS 10.16 [Catalina] and MacOS 11 [Big Sur] this has stopped working.

However there is a simple solution.

Go to and download the app for yourself and follow the instructions to install it on your laptop.

Once you have done that, on the first occasion you run the software you need to enable screen recording on the MacBook for ClickShare.  See the Barco knowledge base guide:

You just go to System Preferences, click on ‘Security and Privacy’ click on the ‘Privacy’ tab and scroll down the Apps in the left hand pane until you see ‘Screen Recording’ and select it.  Then just tick the checkbox next to ‘Clickshare App’in the righthand pane.

That’s it.  By the way, remember to have made sure you’ve selected ‘Clickshare’ in the Output tab in the ‘Sound’ menu in System Preferences so the sound plays through Clickshare and not from your laptop speakers [also to be found under the little loudspeaker icon top right of your menu bar, usually next to the Date and Time]

If you have ever downloaded the Clickshare App before and played it on your laptop you will need to make sure you have uninstalled the old version properly first.

A complete version of this solution can be found on the Midland Circuit Web Site:


Digital Presentation of Evidence

Clickshare was only ever intended as s stop-gap.  HMCTS developed a hard wired-alternative which has been trialled in Guildford Crown Court and seems a far better system.  The CBA collaborated with HMCTS to make a business case to the Treasury for the replacement of Clickshare with this.  We await the outcome.



Given that CVP was up and running within weeks of the court shutdown in 2020 it has worked surprisingly well, although not without its issues.

A replacement is in development and is about to be tested by members of the Bar.  We will keep you informed of developments.


Hunt the CVP link

Meanwhile, HMCTS have created a new form, Form 5009, to contain all CVP information for a case.  The suggestion is that it should be uploaded to Section X of the DCS to provide the CVP link for all hearings.  It is also suggested that it should be the national standard from 1stFebruary.  However, given the ‘success’ of the diktat that the CVP link should always be on the “Front Page” or “Case Home” tab it remains to be seen whether all courts follow the same pattern.  The ambition is and to end those frantic 9:55 phone calls to your clerks, asking “where’s the CVP link for my hearing in five minutes?”


The Common Platform

You should have been receiving notifications for your registration for the Common Platform.  The latest email from HMCTS ends

“You can find our webinar and the latest version of the defence learning guide online, should you need to revisit any training needs.

If you have any questions about Common Platform, please do not hesitate to contact the Crime Programme at [email protected]

It has been trialled in Derby and will shortly be trialled more widely around the country.  The ambition is for all court documents to be in one place and accessible.  The Crown Court Digital Case System will remain in place for some time but is to be re-designed to integrate with the Common Platform.  The Bar is currently working with HMCTS with a view to improving on the functionality and design of the DCS.

Update – Clickshare and Mac OS Big Sur (12.01.21)

With the advent of the CCDCS the Clickshare technology was installed to enable all advocates to present evidence from their own laptops using wireless technology.   It was installed to be used on the large screens which had been installed for remote defendants and witnesses

This was a remarkable innovation but was only a ‘stopgap’ solution for various reasons

Firstly, the technology was not designed to transmit and show reasonably high-definition video and as the resolution of video imagery has improved over the years the limitations of Clickshare have become more and more apparent and the resulting image is of poor resolution compared to the source.  This means that fact-finders in courts – the magistrates, judges and juries – often cannot see the detail upon which the prosecution case may rely.

Secondly, and more crucially, it depends upon the company which produces it to upgrade the software as various operating systems – Windows, Apple Macintosh – evolve.  We have now reached a point where the Clickshare manufacturers no longer update the software so that it runs on the latest Apple Mac operating systems and since the last-but-one iteration of the Mac OS was introduced – Mac OS Catalina (10.15) – there are problems with Clickshare not working on a Mac.  It seems that these problems have increased with the roll-out of Mac OS Big Sur (OS 11)

There is a workaround for Mac OS Catalina developed by the Midland Circuit Technology Officer but even that struggles with Big Sur.  If you have not already done so, do not upgrade to Big Sur if you want to use Clickshare.

A hardwired solution is both necessary and desirable to be able to preserve and transmit the high resolution which is available and to make all laptops usable in the courtroom.  HMCTS has developed a solution which provides for one HDMI cable to be available for the prosecution and a second, ‘mobile’ cable to be available for one or more defence advocates with the HDMI unit transmitting the signal.  This has been trialled at Guildford Crown Court and seems to be an ideal solution as the mobility of the second unit means it can be used wherever the defence advocate is socially-distanced-located, and furthermore it can be used successively by an unlimited number of other defence advocates in a multi-handed case.  This solves the problem of how many cables to install in each and every courtroom to cope with the possibility of any courtroom hearing a multi-handed case.

HMCTS are currently seeking funding to install this in all courtrooms and the CBA has assisted in making the business case to be submitted to the MoJ and the Treasury.

Update – DCS (12.12.20)

The DCS update scheduled for 16th November took place successfully and the changes to DCS, including the creation of the two unused disclosed sections have been completed. Unfortunately the corresponding update to the CPS case management system (CMS) didn’t go ahead due to technical issues and had to be rolled back.  Their release is far more complex than the one required for DCS and a further attempt to deploy took place over the weekend of the 5th and 6th December. Unfortunately that didn’t work either and so we have been left with no choice but to communicate the delay. The next date for release is now 2nd week in January, to be confirmed.

Update – PCU WIFI in HMCTS Buildings (11.11.20)

PCU WiFi is changing and will no longer be available in HMCTS buildings from 15 January 2021. HMCTS are upgrading the authentication service which will provide:

  • Secure form of authentication
  • No need for password renewal (currently every 90 days)
  • No need to re-authenticate when moving between sites
  • Further alignment to best practice.

All PCU WiFi users will need to register for a GovWiFi account before 15 January 2021. Simply text ‘Go’ to 07537417417 to get connected. This is a one-time registration. You will then be able to connect wherever GovWiFi is available.

Further information on how to connect and manage your installation is available at the GovWiFi website.

Registration Poster

Update – Common Platform (21.04.20)

As a result of discussion at the LSC on 25th March the Bar IT panel has put together the following guides on video conferencing platforms and ebundles which are available at these locations.
The Cloud Video Platform is currently being ‘rolled out’ in the North East this week and progressively from then on.
The Bar Council will shortly publish full guidance for all barristers and all courts.


Have an active CJSM Secure Email account

  • To access the DCS you will need to have a live CJSM account and will either need to sign-up to CJSM Secure email or re-set the password to “liven-up” the account if you have not used it for 90 days+, either:
  • To sign-up to CJSM, go to and click on the “Apply Now” button (may take up to 10 days for an account)
  • If your CJSM password has expired, ask your local CJSM Administrator to reset the account password.
  • If you are a Defence firm with only a single registered CJSM account, but have a number of users who need to access the DCS, you must set-up individual CJSM accounts.

Access / Registration:

Register and log on to Professional Court User Wi-fi (PCU Wifi) 

  • To access the DCS reliably in court you should use the Professional Court User Wifi (PCU Wifi) system. PCU Wifi is not yet available at Snaresbrook.

Using your personal CJSM email account, email [email protected] with the following information:

  • Your name
  • A phone/mobile number in case BT need to contact you
  • An internet accessible email address, which will become your user name for PCU Wifi.  This could be your business email address or another email address which you can access via 3G/4G from the courtroom on your phone, just in case you forget your PCU Wifi password and you need BT to send you a temporary password. Please do not use your CJSM email address.

Register and log on to the Crown Court Digital Case System (DCS):

Access to a Case Set up on DCS:

  • Within 3 days of the case having been sent to the Crown Court the case will be set up on the Digital Case System (DCS) by HMCTS.  The defence community will not be able to view case material on all cases uploaded to DCS, the process is as follows:

Step 1:

  • The court will ‘invite’ the defence solicitors using the firm’s CJSM email address e.g.  If after 3 days of the case being sent you find that you do not have access on DCS, contact the court using: [email protected]

Step 2:

  • Once invited to have access to the case the defence solicitors will be responsible for inviting instructed counsel and chambers into the case. The defence solicitors will choose ‘people’ from the green button menu in DCS, and then select ‘invite new participant’ typing in the individuals full CJSM email address, and selecting their role ‘defence advocate’.

The same process will be followed for inviting in ‘chambers clerk(s) using their full CJSM email address.

Digital Sentencing Guidelines

Use of the Crown Court Digital System – Ethics

A full Guide is available

The Professional Court User Wi-Fi Guide is available

Windows 10 Outlook workaround available

Clickshare and Mac OS 10.14 Mojave

Training available:

Crown Court Digital Case System Training

In-Court Presentation


Handouts Available:

Woolwich PowerPoint Presentation

Portsmouth Crown Court Guidance Notes

Criminal Legal Aid Applications and BCM (briefing for LITs)

His Honour Judge Martin Edmund QC – Guidance Notes

ClickShare Solution – Apple

Question and Answers – CPS Response

Video Links for Witnesses at Court – Bodyworn evidence guide for Barristers

GovWifi in HMCTS courts

ClickShare Solution – MAC Catalina Software Workaround