Nudging up court appearances with text message reminders: a randomised controlled trial

Randomised Control Trial Status


Trial Hypothesis

Sending a reminder text message to a defendant the day before they are due to appear in court, results in more defendants attending the first scheduled hearing.

Geographical area

​Hampshire and Isle Of Wight.

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Cambridge

In Collaboration With

Hampshire Constabulary

Contact Name

Ben Chivers

Project Start Date

January 2017

Participants - inclusion criteria

  • ​The defendant is required to attend court via postal requisition
  • The postal requisition may be sent by post or served personally on the defendant
  • The defendant is 14 years or older at the time of raising a postal requisition.

Target Sample Size


Study Design

​Basic randomised control trial comparing a treatment to a control group.


​Single Treatment 
A single text message which is sent to the defendant's last known mobile telephone number, as recorded on Hampshire Constabulary’s record management system (Niche RMS) with a templated message.
The message will be personalised, but limited to the defendants details and court attendance detail for their case.

Outcome Measures

  • Attendance at the first scheduled hearing
  • Failure to Appear arrest warrants received by Hampshire Constabulary
  • Early guilty pleas received (defined as a guilty plea, resulting all offences at the first scheduled hearing).

Date last updated

Tuesday 26 June 2018
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