Conditions of Entry

Scheme members who wish to participate in the scheme are required to agree with all ‘Conditions of Entry’ below.
1.     Scheme members will be able to enter any court / tribunal where the scheme is live, without being searched, providing they:

  • Are registered as a participant in the scheme
  • Provide the agreed photo identification
  • Are not selected for random screening

2.     Scheme members are required to comply in full with all ‘Court / Tribunal Arrangements and Procedures’ (below) to participate in the scheme.

3.     Please note, for security reasons if a scheme member:

  • does not have the agreed official photo identification on the day of their visit, or
  • is not registered for the scheme on the day of their visit, or
  • they do not ‘match’ their agreed official photo identification

they will not be allowed to enter the court / tribunal without going through the court security screening procedure. Exceptions will not be allowed. The scheme member will be asked to join the end of the main queue, if a separate fast lane is in operation, or if they are already in the only queue into the building then security screening will immediately begin. It is important the Professional Users’ Access Scheme is not seen by other court / tribunal users as allowing ‘queue jumping’ as this is likely to cause objections.

4.     Court / Tribunal Security Officers will conduct random searches as part of the scheme. These will equate to approximately 10% of scheme members entering using this scheme. This will safeguard against the scheme being observed as weak, and being targeted. Scheme members selected will be searched immediately and will not have to join the back of the main queue if it is separate to the professional access lane.

5.     Scheme members are only permitted to have a single scheme membership.  They may not apply for an additional membership ID, whether via the organisation through which they already hold membership, or via another member organisation in the scheme.  Any such application is likely to result in the member being removed from the scheme.

Prohibited Items
6.     Careful consideration must be given to any item brought on to HMCTS premises in terms of whether it could be used by someone to injure you or someone else. As part of the ‘Conditions of Entry’, scheme members must still abide by these rules and not bring in any prohibited items listed below (bags / keyrings should be checked before attending court / tribunal):

  • Any type of knife or bladed article, such as scissors, penknives (including articles on   keyrings)
  • other sharp items, such as knitting needles and darts
  • glass articles, e.g. bottles or a glass
  • metal cutlery
  • syringes (unless by prescription)
  • toy guns and other things that look like guns
  • tools, e.g. screwdrivers, hammers and nails, ropes and chains
  • alcohol
  • liquids that are not drinks or prescription medicines, e.g. cleaning products and lighter refills
  • any other item that the Court Security Officer may deem could be used to cause an injury

7.     A concession has been made for scheme members participating in the scheme to bring in perfume, spray deodorants and toiletries. Safety razors may be carried in a wash bag, only if travel to venue involves an overnight stay. Scheme members are asked to bring in items only when necessary, bottles should be small/discreet and all such items must be kept safe and out of sight of the public while on court / tribunal premises.

8.     If during a random security screening a scheme member is found to be carrying a prohibited item, e.g. a keyring blade or pen knife, a report will be raised with the incident details. This will be passed to the HMCTS Delivery Manager and will be brought to the attention of the resident judge. The scheme member’s participation in the scheme may cease and they may be excluded from the scheme for up to a year.

9.     Any scheme member found to be circumventing these procedures may be removed from the scheme completely. E.g. refusing to be security screened when selected at random; carrying belongings for other people, abusing the security staff conducting their duties.

Court / Tribunal Arrangements and Procedures
10.  Following completion of site assessments of entrance space and Court / Tribunal Security Officer numbers, which will not be increased for this scheme, separate fast access lanes will be used if appropriate and if there is sufficient space in the court entrance. If a fast lane is not possible scheme members can access the scheme via the main queue.

11.  Registration for the scheme is through the member’s parent organisation and via an electronic application process with the eligibility to join the scheme, and the professional status of the scheme member if applicable, verified by each member organisation as part of the application process.

Court / Tribunal Arrangements
12.  Courts / tribunals with a ‘professional access lane’:

  • If a court / tribunal has more than one entrance, the ‘professional access lane’ will in the first  instance be arranged at the main entry point. An alternative entrance will only be used if it is practical and appropriate signage is in place.
  • The ‘professional access lane’ may only operate at peak times. When the lane is closed, scheme members will enter the site via the main queue and, providing there is sufficient Court / Tribunal Security Officer resource to do this, their ID will be scanned and they will be permitted to enter without security screening (unless they are randomly selected for search). As there will be limited queues and no bags to be searched, entry should still be quick.

13.  Courts / tribunals without a ‘professional access lane’:

  • The set up will be based on a site assessment but may mean that scheme members will queue with other court / tribunal users.
  • Once they reach the front of the queue they will not be security screened (unless selected for random search) but will undergo the agreed identity authentication checks.

14.  Courts / tribunals where high security arrangements are in place:

The Professional Users’ Access Scheme may not operate at courts / tribunals where high security arrangements are in place. The scheme arrangement may also be suspended if a significant risk is identified.

Scheme Members’ Entry
15.  On attending the court / tribunal, all scheme members registered for the scheme will:

  • Arrive with sufficient time to be security screened should they be selected at random.
  • Check they are only carrying their own belongings and nothing for anyone else. The only exception to this rule is that legal practitioners may bring in drinks for others and will not be required to do a sip test.
  • Check that they do not have any prohibited item listed in the ‘Conditions of Entry’.
  • Identify themselves to the Court / Tribunal Security Officer as a scheme member.

Provide their scheme membership ID for examination and scanning by the Security Officer. This ID will be a scheme photo ID card or scheme electronic ID on a smartphone. Paper copies or print outs will not be accepted as ID for entry under this scheme.

Authentication of Identity
16.  The Court / Tribunal Security Officer will:

  • Note the person has advised they are a scheme member and direct them as required.
  • Confirm by questioning that the individual is not carrying anything for any other person or any of the prohibited items. If found to be carrying a prohibited item, e.g. a bladed article, it must be surrendered in the normal manner. A report will be passed to the HMCTS Delivery Manager and will be brought to the attention of the resident judge. The scheme member’s participation in the scheme may be suspended.
  • Confirm via scanning with the scheme app that individual is registered for the scheme, check the photo on the official scheme ID matches the individual and the photo on the scheme app, and check the other data on the scheme ID corresponds with the app.
  • Conduct 10% random selection of those scheme members participating in the scheme. Those chosen at random will be subjected to full security screening. Once selected and confirmed as registered for the scheme they should be directed to the security screening area, they are not required to join the end of the queue.
  • Allow the individual to enter.

17.  If the individual does not have identification or is not registered for the scheme they will have to go through the full security screening process; exceptions will not be allowed. This will mean directing them to join the back of the main queue.