The Government announced in the last Queen’s Speech that legislation would be brought forward to modernise the courts system. This Bill introduces the first set of court reform measures relating to the deployment of the judiciary and enabling staff to exercise certain judicial functions.
The Bill will introduce much greater flexibility to the deployment of judges. It will also free up judges’ time to focus on more complex matters by allowing suitably qualified and experienced court and tribunal staff to be authorised to handle uncontroversial, straightforward matters under judicial supervision. The measures in the Bill will also increase the efficiency of the courts and tribunals.
Authorised staff could carry out tasks such as issuing a summons, taking a plea, or extending time for applications. Decisions on which powers authorised staff may carry out will be made by an independent procedure rule committee.
This is a Government Bill introduced into the House of Lords by Lord Keen from the Ministry of Justice.
Richard Burgon MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, responding to the publication of this Bill in the Lords, said:
The Government’s cuts have led to hundreds of courts closing and the axing of thousands of vital court staff. This Bill must not be a smokescreen for yet more cuts and closures. Labour’s test for this legislation will be whether it improves access to justice.
How to get involved
You can contact your MP, or the Ministry of Justice.
If I don’t act, will it go through?
This is a Government Bill so it is likely to go through.