HC Deb 14 July 1975 vol 895 cc1057-8
63. Mr. Hooson

asked the Attorney-General what has been the total annual cost of administering the legal system under the Beeching reforms; and how this compares with the total cost before that time.

The Solicitor-General (Mr. Peter Archer)

The estimated cost in 1975–76 falling on my noble Friend's Vote is £45.6 million, which offset by £27.7 million from court fees totals £17.9 million net. Given the increase in the volume and scope of the work of the higher courts and county courts since 1st January 1972, valid comparisons with the costs, to central and to local government, of the former system are no longer possible.

Mr. Hooson

Is it not correct to say that the cost of the administration of the courts far exceeds the estimated cost? Has any analysis been made of the reasons?

The Solicitor-General

I very much doubt whether in 1971 anybody foresaw the substantial increase in the work of the courts. The hon. and learned Gentleman must appreciate that as a major factor in the situation.

Mr. Greville Janner

What further reforms of the legal system does my hon. and learned Friend have in mind, and when are they likely to be implemented?

The Solicitor-General

That must be a matter for further Questions. Any representations made by my hon. and learned Friend will be taken into consideration.