HC Deb 26 February 1986 vol 92 cc941-2
42. Mr. Pollock

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland when he last met the Lord Justice General; and what subjects were discussed.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate and I met the Lord Justice General on 21 February, when we discussed various matters relating to the administration of the criminal justice system in Scotland.

Mr. Pollock

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware of the considerable concern in Scotland about the impact of the large number of criminal appeals on the progress of civil business in the courts? Can he advise us whether any consultation with the Lord Justice General has enabled him to take any step to remedy the problem?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

The problem to which my hon. Friend refers is, unhappily, a real one. We have time limits in criminal business and, accordingly, at first instance and on appeal it must have priority. Because of the problem of civil business, my hon. Friend should be aware that the chairman of the Scottish Law Commission, Lord Maxwell, has been invited to consider the way in which we might more effectively use judicial time in the superior courts. I hope that that problem will be carefully addressed by the chairman. If my hon. Friend has any view on better arrangements for judicial time in the superior courts, it would be welcome.

Mr. Dewar

As the Lord Justice General has an obvious interest in the housing of the High Court, does the Solicitor-General for Scotland intend to discuss with the Lord Justice General plans to remodel the High Court in Glasgow, and if so, are those plans going ahead?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

That has been a matter under discussion with the Lord President, but not on Friday. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the buildings of the High Court and gaol square are a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr. Henderson

Does my hon. and learned Friend believe that the Lord Justice General is aware that there is a long tradition of Labour Members bellyaching about social problems, a good example of which is warrant sales?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I did not discuss warrant sales with the Lord President, but to go back a question, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that that is often the case.