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Shaw's directory of courts in the United Kingdom, 2007/08.

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by PhillipTaylor

For over 250 years, Shaw and Sons have been supplying the legal profession and local government with specialist books specifically for that market. Each year, they produce their excellent “Shaw’s Directory of Courts” which is a more detailed and comprehensive version of the various ‘Courts Guides’ which a number of publishers market.

I like Shaw’s Directory (no, not that case!) because it has the information I need. The 2007/08 edition takes account of the re-organisation of Her Majesty’s Courts Service and this edition features the subsequent radical changes which were implemented in April 2007. Practitioners will be aware that substantial reform of the regional and area boundaries, transforming 46 areas into just 25 with 7 redefined regions, makes previous courts guides redundant as the information has completely changed.


Shaws have provided full details on the recent re-structuring exercise whilst retaining the traditional layout which many will be familiar with. The publishers have also taken the opportunity, whilst updating the information, to reflect the streamlining of HMCS and to introduce helpful new features.

For the first time, your clerks will find that all Crown, County and Magistrates’ Courts under each region’s administration have been indexed within the Regional listing, for ease of location of courts within the dedicated Parts. Also included are extensive listings of Probate Courts in England and Wales, including names, addresses and contact numbers for all registrars, as well as normal opening times.


As usual, my main concerns again rest with HMCS’s reluctance to expand their use and practices regarding the internet and to ignore much of it as a student or academic toy. With further technological changes taking place again next year, I would like to see the Directory include more detailed IT sections. I suspect many practitioners who would like to use direct email and internet links with the courts but remain thoroughly mystified and dissatisfied with the attitude of some courts towards any form of IT change.

The Directory, however, is still the definitive source of information on Her Majesty’s Courts Service with its related offices. The Directory gives that extra, additional information which your admin staff often need and waste time trying to find- it provides accurate, up-to-date details of contact names, telephone and fax (yes, still fax!) numbers, addresses, document exchange numbers, court codes and the normal times and the sitting of our courts.


Full information is supplied in one source book for the Supreme and Appellate Courts, the High Court, Crown and County Courts, Magistrates’ Courts, Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, Sheriff and District Courts in Scotland, Coroners, the Probate Courts, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service… and Penal Establishments - without having to look at a Prisons Guide.

This is the most comprehensive reference work of its type and it has modernised to meet the current demands of the courts system, and for those who have dealings with them.

PHILLIP TAYLOR MBE LL.B (Hons) PGCE Barrister-at-Law.

Richmond Green Chambers.


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