How to use HMCTS Common Platform

Guides for defence professionals on activating an account and using Common Platform to manage cases.

Applies to England and Wales



Common Platform is a case management system for HMCTS, the judiciary, and professional court users, including defence.

Defence solicitors and barristers will need to register for an account before any hearings they attend where Common Platform is used.

With an account you can:

  • link yourself to a case or defendant so the Legal Aid Agency is informed for payment purposes
  • self-serve case materials, including the initial details of the prosecution case (IDPC) and the preparation for effective trial form (PET form) in the magistrates’ court
  • serve documents on the court for Common Platform cases in the magistrates’ court

Once your firm has registered and you have activated your account, you can start managing your cases in Common Platform.

If you are an organisation administrator, see the HMCTS Common Platform for defence administrators guide.

Once your organisation has registered and you have activated your account, you can start accessing cases in Common Platform.

Get help

If you need help getting a unique reference number for a case, email or call 0330 808 4407.

If you need further help or have questions that are not addressed in the guidance, you can contact us on our helpdesk or by email.


Telephone – 020 3989 6060
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (excluding bank holidays)


We aim to respond within 5 working days.

These guides are for defence professionals. If you are another type of user and need help with Common Platform, email

Published 25 March 2022
Last updated 510 June 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated the Courts and Tribunals Service Centres email address.

  2. Updates to the add or edit defence witness section following changes to locking and editing function

  3. New images for new screens

  4. Added new home screen with associate and disassociate link

  5. Added guidance for accessing the PET and BCM using the case management link

  6. Added new where to send case materials guide and structural tweaks in other guides

  7. Updated guidance around checking in to a hearing in the guidance document 'Check into a Common Platform hearing'.

  8. Changes to how you find a case with the case reference

  9. Re-published PET and BCM guide

  10. Update to the serve docs and add case material guide for PET and BCM update

  11. Changes to the registering and associating to a case guidance and added PET/BCM guide

  12. First published.