HC Deb 28 June 1971 vol 820 cc23-4
31. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Attorney-General whether he will refuse to establish further courts at the Old Bailey until he is satisfied that existing courts are used on all possible occasions.

The Attorney-General

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor has at present no power to control sittings at the Central Criminal Court. He will have such power when the Courts Act comes into operation, probably on 1st January, 1972.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Is the Attorney-General aware that the Government have spent a lot of money on new courts because the existing courts are between one and two years in arrears with cases? Does not the Attorney-General consider it rather strange that after the Whitsun holiday the court staff had a further week off and all these courts were closed when there were plenty of Q.Cs, barristers and legal gentlemen anxious show their productivity? Is it not a bad example to workers in industry when this sort of thing is occurring?

The Attorney-General

The court did not sit during the week after the Whitsun holiday. It was convenient for the judges at that time to take a part of their annual leave entitlement because a wall was being demolished between the old and new courts at the Old Bailey. Eight courts will be sitting during August.