Entry to all courts without searches

UPDATE: 27th April 2022

Professional Users’ Court and Tribunals Access Scheme

The Bar Council spoke with HMCTS on Friday 22 April 2022 and sought their agreement to extend the expiration date for existing ID Cards from 30 April 2022 to 31 May 2022, which means that users will not need to log-on to MyBar and renew their existing cards until next month. The Bar Council will contact relevant persons closer to the date in question with details of the renewal process. Please note that the expiration date shown on existing cards will not change from 30 April 2022, but that this should not impact upon barristers’ ability to use the fast-track security lanes within the relevant court and tribunal buildings. 

Unfortunately, at the time of writing and due to ongoing technical difficulties, the Bar Council is not able to issue members who do not currently use the Scheme with new ID Cards. However, those who are interested in obtaining a card can email services@barcouncil.org.uk to receive a notification email and further instructions when MyBar has been reinstated. In the meantime, please accept the apologies of the Bar Council for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience at this time. To find out more about the Scheme, please visit: https://www.barcouncil.org.uk/bar-council-services/for-barristers/professional-users-court-access-scheme.html.


Members can start their morning without the inconvenience of a search each day at court if they sign up to the Bar Council ID card pass. This means you can go into courts without being searched and it also means you can go in without queueing e.g. Southwark. 

It is about to be rolled out to all criminal and family courts nationally.

The link is here and you can sign up to it within a couple of minutes.
Log into:
You will need to know your log in and password.
Then on the left hand menu – the sixth heading down says – HMCTS Court Access Pilot.
You fill in two questions – which courts you will use and that you confirm you will abide by the conditions of entry (copied below for ease).
You then upload a photo of yourself and then press continue and that is it (passport type – just a selfie with your phone against a white wall).
It is then emailed to you and you then save it  (in the apple wallet if you have an apple phone).  
You can then use it straight away.


Conditions of Entry

Phase 1 - Wood Green Crown, Southwark Crown, Brighton Magistrates, Tameside
Magistrates and Maidstone Combined Court.

Phase 2 – Chester Crown, Nottingham Crown, Portsmouth Combined, St Albans
Crown and Swansea Crown.

Legal practitioners who wish to participate in the Pilot are required to agree with all ‘Conditions of Entry’ below.

1. Legal practitioners will be able to enter participating courts in the pilot, without searching, providing they:

  • Are registered with the court and
  • Provide the agreed photo identification

2. Legal practitioners are required to comply in full with all ‘Court Arrangements and Procedures’ (below) to participate in the pilot.

3. Please note for security reasons if a legal practitioner:

  • does not have the agreed official photo identification on the day of their visit, or
  • is not registered on the day of their visit at the pilot court or
  • they do not ‘match’ their agreed official photo identification-

they will not be allowed to enter the court without going through the court security screening procedure. Exceptions will not be allowed. The legal practitioner will be asked to join the end of the main queue. It is important the system being piloted is not seen by other court users as allowing ‘queue jumping’ as this is likely to cause objections.

4. Court Security Officer will conduct random searches as part of the ‘Professional Entry Scheme’. They will equate to approximately 10% of legal practitioners entering using this scheme. This will safeguard against the scheme being observed as weak, and being targeted. Legal practitioners selected will be directed to be the security screening area, they will not have to join the back of the main queue.

Prohibited Items

5. 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’ legal practitioners participating in the pilot must still abide by these rules and not bring in any prohibited items listed below. Please check your bags/keyrings before you attend court.

  • 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, for example screwdrivers, hammers and nails, ropes and chains
  • alcohol
  • liquids such as cleaning products, lighter refills.

6. A concession has been made for legal practitioners participating in the pilot to bring in perfume, spray deodorants, toiletries. Safety razors may be carried in a wash bag. Legal practitioners 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 premises.

7. If during a random security screening a legal practitioner 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 legal practitioner’s participation in the pilot will cease and they may be excluded from the scheme for up to a year if the pilot is successful and the scheme is implemented nationally.

8. Any legal practitioner 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 Arrangements and Procedures

9. Phase 1 of the Pilot is planned to commence 5th September and run for 12 weeks. Phase 2 will start
during week commencing 26th November 2018.

10. Courts Participating in this Pilot are:

Professional Access Lane  No Professional Access Lane
Phase 1: Phase 1
Wood Green Crown Court Tameside Magistrates 
Southwark Crown Court  
Brighton Magistrates  
Maidstone Combined  
Phase 2: Phase 2:
Nottingham Crown Court Chester Crown Court
  Portsmouth Combined Court
  St Albans Crown Court
  Swansea Crown Court














11. Following a site assessment of entrance space and Court Security Officer numbers which will not be increased for this pilot, a decision has been made to implement a ‘Professional Access Lane’ at Wood Green Crown, Southwark Crown, Brighton Magistrates and Maidstone Combined. Tameside Magistrates will trial an entry system without a professional access lane. Similarly, in phase 2 of the pilot a separate access lane will only be tested at Nottingham with Chester, Portsmouth, St Albans and Swansea testing faster entry via one main queue.

12. A second strand of the pilot is national and involves the CLSA/LCCSA only. See paragraph 25 below.

13. Registration at pilot courts will be via an application process, the professional status of the legal practitioner will be verified as part of the application. As the ‘Court Registration List’ will initially be paper based for this Pilot, legal practitioners are asked to register only at courts they are likely to visit often during the 12-week pilot. This will help maintain a manageable ‘Court Registration List’ for the Court Security Officer to work with. For the phase 2 pilot sites registration will be solely electronic as, results so far, indicate that this is the most efficient method of registration. Currently, only registrations from barristers can be made on-line via the new Bar Council app.

14. Anyone who seeks to join the pilot after the start date of the pilot can expect a paper based application to take up to a week to process. The electronic process is much quicker.

Court Arrangements

15. If a court has more than one entrance, the ‘professional access lane’ will be arranged at the main entry point only.

16. The ‘professional access lane’ will not be open throughout the working day as available Court Security Officer resources do not support this. When the lane is closed outside of peak times, legal practitioner re-entering the site will be required to go through the routine screening procedure. As there will be limited queue and no bags to be searched, entry should still be quick.

17. Tameside Magistrates Court, Chester, Portsmouth, St Albans and Swansea Crown Courts will not operate a ‘professional access lane’. Legal professionals will have to queue with other court users to access the court. Once they reach the front of the queue they will undergo the entry checks described below.

18. The Professional Entry Scheme will not be implemented at courts where high security arrangements are in place. The scheme arrangement may be suspended if a significant risk is identified or additional security measures are required at the court.

Legal practitioner’s entry:

19. On attending court, all legal practitioners registered at the court will:

  • Arrive at court 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, whatsoever
  • Check that they do not have any prohibited item listed in ‘Conditions of Entry’.
  • Identify themselves to the Court Security Officer as a legal practitioner.
  • Provide their photo identity for examination, which will be:
    • A valid passport or driving license, or
    • For the CLSA/LCCSA a valid Photo CLSA or LCCSA ID card.
    • For barristers via an app on their smartphones

Confirm their full name to be checked against the Court Registration list.

Authentication of Identity

20. The Court Security Officer will:

  • Note the person has advised they are a legal practitioner and direct them as required.
  • Confirm by questioning that the legal practitioner is not carrying anything for any other person or any of the prohibited items.
  • Check the official photo identification presented, confirming the ID Is authentic and the person’s face ‘matches’ their photograph.
  • Check the legal practitioner is registered on the Court Registration list.
  • For barristers check the ID on their smartphones and scan using an android tablet / phone.
  • Conduct 10% random selection of those legal practitioners participating in the scheme. Those chosen at random will be subjected to full security screening. Once selected and confirmed as registered at the court they should be directed to the security screening area, they are not required to join the end of the queue.

21. Providing the legal practitioner can be identified by their official photo identification and are registered on the Court List, and are not selected for a random screening they may enter.

22. If the legal practitioner does not have identification or is not registered at the court they will have to go through the full security screening process, exceptions will not be allowed. This will mean joining the back of the main queue.

23. 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 may be brought to the attention of the resident judge. The legal practitioner’s participation in the pilot will cease and they may be excluded from the scheme for up to a year if the pilot is successful and the scheme is implemented nationally.

The Criminal Law Solicitors' Association (CLSA) and London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ (LCCSA) National Pilot

24. Arrangements at Tameside Magistrates, Brighton Magistrates, Wood Green Crown, Southwark Crown, Maidstone Combined, Chester Crown, Nottingham Crown, Portsmouth Crown, St Albans Crown and Swansea Crown for CLSA and LCCSA are as described above.

25. For the national pilot CLSA and LCCSA members will be able to access all other courts (except where high risk security) without searching, provided they are registered at the court and have an official CLSA / LCCSA photograph identification card. Other courts will not be operate a ‘professional access lane’ and CLSA / LCCSA members will queue with other court users to access the entrance. Once they reach the front of the queue they will not be security screened but undergo the authentication of identification described above.