Court launches text reminder service

  • 02/11/2015
Court launches text reminder service

There are text message reminders for haircuts and doctor's appointments - now you can get one for your next court date.

Defendants will now be able to sign up to receive an automated text message the day before their district court appearance, reminding them of the date, time and location.

Justice Minister Amy Adams says text reminders are commonplace for many sorts of appointments.

"This new service should help defendants by prompting them the day before they are due in court," she said.

"Many criminal cases are cancelled because the defendant simply doesn't show up. This wastes the time of everyone in court, including the judge, lawyers, witnesses and victims, and draws out the time it takes for the case to be resolved.

"In addition to being inefficient, this increases stress on victims."

There is a four to six percent no-show rate in case review, sentencing and judge-alone trial hearings.

This means more than 3500 court dates are being rescheduled each year, alongside the issue of just as many arrest warrants for people who fail to make it to court.

Ms Adams says she hopes the service can be rolled out to family and civil court users, and dispute tribunal users in the near future.

Defendants can sign up for the text service online, by calling 0800 268 787 or in person at the nearest courthouse.