§ 29. Mr. Wigley
To ask the Attorney-General whether a decision has been made on the reorganisation of the taxing function of courts in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)
New arrangements common to all six circuits in England and Wales provide that, as from 4 March this year, the very largest claims for costs in criminal cases will be referred to specialist taxing teams with particular expertise in determining such claims. In other respects, the taxing function of the courts, covering the vast majority of cases, remains unchanged.
§ Mr. Wigley
Is the Solicitor-General aware of the concern felt in Wales that those taxing services may be moved from Cardiff and other centres in Wales to Bristol in the south and Manchester in the north? Will he assure us that, if there is a move in that direction, it will not be seen as the thin end of the wedge, leading to the dismantling of the structure in the Wales and Chester circuit, and that the future is guaranteed?
§ The Solicitor-General
I am aware of the concern that the hon. Gentleman expresses. I assure him that all that is planned is that those special cases that involve the largest costs and require specialist teams will be dealt with by specialist teams. There is no question of abolishing the Wales and Chester circuit.