HC Deb 14 March 1973 vol 852 cc1278-9
15. Mr. Ronald King Murray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he proposes to bring into force Parts II and III of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Sections 32 to 34 of Part III, which established the Sheriff Court Rules Council and defined its functions, were brought into force on 1st November 1971, and my right hon. Friend has made an order bringing Part II into operation on 1st April 1973. I cannot say as yet when the remainder of Part III will be brought into force. This will depend on when the Rules Council completes the new rules of court in the preparation of which it is now actively engaged.

Mr. Murray

I thank the Under-Secretary for that reply. Does he appreciate that it is almost two years since the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act was enacted? Is he aware that people, particularly legal practitioners and those concerned with the sheriff courts, are anxious not only that new buildings should be provided as quickly as possible under the new administration but that the small debt or summary courts procedure should be brought into force as soon as possible?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I certainly appreciate what the hon. and learned Gentleman says about this matter. I do not think we have dragged our feet on Part II. As to Part III, I think he will agree that we must have the deliberations of the Rules Council completed first. The council has had many meetings since it was set up in December 1971. I am sure that the members of the council will note what has been said in the House this afternoon.