Strategies to modernise the civil and family justice system during the next year have been put out by Justice Minister Naomi Long.

Discussing in Stormont this afternoon, Mrs Long stated she’d take forward changes before the next election to create the family and civil justice system”more accessible for citizens” and”fairer, more proportionate and much more reactive”.

A modernisation shipping plan, which will include the launch of a probate online portal site, will be released shortly, in addition to a personal family law premature settlement action plan, which is being developed in partnership with all the Department of Health.

The justice minister said her priorities had been”formed” by Sir John Gillen’s 2017 review of the civil and family justice system, which made over 400 recommendations, about a third of which come under the justice minister’s remit.

Mrs Long said:”I am investing time and energy in the area because it is a significant one that touches on the lives of numerous citizens, frequently at a stage when they are facing some of life’s many significant challenges, like divorce, financial issues, injury or the death of a family.

“A successful civil justice system is an significant part a well-functioning economy, helping businesses and their clients to settle disputes quickly and efficiently.

“While criminal justice often draws most attention, many more individuals come into contact with all the civil justice system every year. As an instance, in the previous year, 2019-2020, nearly 102,000 parties were included in civil and family proceedings.

“Many will have had a favorable experience, with cases dealt with efficiently and effectively, resulting in a swift resolution. Others will have found the procedure long, difficult and costly.

“I want to do all that I could to encourage more citizens to resolve their disputes as quickly, fairly and inexpensively as possible in a system that is viewed as just, proportionate and reachable.”

A spokesperson for your Law Society of Northern Ireland said:”For too long civil and family justice have been the failed regions of the justice system in Northern Ireland.

“The Law Society looks forward to working together with the ministry and the Department of Justice in responding to the initiatives the minister plans to bring forward.”