Court Wi-Fi - the Next Chapter

With the majority of Crown and Combined courts across England and Wales now having working Wi-Fi, make sure you have signed up for the service as the Digital Case System is coming and Wi-Fi access is essential.

07 January 2016 Briefings  CJSM

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The dream of having modern Wi-Fi technology in court is nearly reality and the majority of Crown and Combined courts across England and Wales now have working Wi-Fi. This puts the government in a good position for its ambition to have all criminal courts working digitally by July 2016.

The PCU Wi-Fi system is operated and serviced by BT through agreement with HMCTS, the service is for all court professionals but not all court professionals will be able to access the Wi-Fi at all sites immediately as you need a login. 

Registration

Defence practitioners will be required to register once to gain access to the PCU Wi-Fi and registration must be done in advance of wanting to use the system.  In order to register practioners must have a valid and active personal Criminal Justice Secure Email (CJSM) account.

The application process is simple and straightforward.  Using your own personal Criminal Justice Secure Mail (CJSM) account, email the following information to the address pcu.wifi@bt.cjsm.net

  • Your name

  • An internet accessible e-mail address (not your CJSM Email) - this will become your username for the service

  • A phone/mobile number in case we need to contact you

  • Once you have your password

Help and Support

Court Wi-Fi Support Service is not managed by the Courth administration team, BT run the service and Helpdesk and remember it is essential that you register in advance for your account to gain access to the Wi-Fi service.

Feedback from the BT IT helpdesk shows that most calls regard password resets or lock outs (you are given 3 login attempts before you are locked out).  Please be careful when create your password and ensure that they are secure and memorable.

To find out which Magistrates and Crown courts have Wi-Fi facilities installed, see Magistrate's Court PCU Wi-Fi Google Map and the Crown Court PCU Wi-Fi Google

Alternative to PCU Wi-Fi

In certain circumstances the Wi-Fi in court may not be strong enough for you to connect to the Internet. The good news is that it's possible to use your phone as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, and share its data connection with your laptop.

This setup is called tethering or internet sharing, and many smartphones provide this feature, including iPhones, BlackBerrys, Windows Phones and, of course Android handsets.

Regardless of the connection method, it's important to check whether your mobile tariff allows tethering before using your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. In some cases, the mobile operator can prevent the option from appearing on your handset if tethering isn't part of the deal (iPhone owners will notice that Personal Hotspot simply doesn't show up in the General settings menu, for example).

In other cases, it's physically possible to set up tethering but if it's disallowed on your tariff you could find yourself with a warning or even being cut off for breaking the rules. Some operators are more lenient than others, but always check with your provider if you're not sure.

How to tether your phone

On your phone go to Settings > More > Wireless & networks and then Tethering, Portable Hotspot or Mobile networking sharing or similar. The exact menu names can vary slightly phone depending on your make and model, but if you can get to the wireless settings section, that's generally where you need to be.

Below you will find links to the tethering instructions for a selection of devices:

Share your experience of Wi-Fi in the Courts?

If you are regularly in court and have any feedback on the Wi-Fi services or have found better alternatives, please let us know and we can share this with others in a later newsletter issue.

Corrections or suggestions

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