HC Deb 05 February 1996 vol 271 cc14-5
28. Mr. Llwyd

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many representations his Department has received on the subject of the Woolf report during the past six months. [11786]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Mr. Jonathan Evans)

Approximately 260, of which 233 related to the implementation of the recommendations on raising the small claims limit and giving publicity for alternatives to litigation. Lord Woolf's secretariat has had some 311 items of correspondence.

Mr. Llwyd

I am grateful for that reply. The hon. Gentleman knows that, over the past 10 years, great strides have been made in the provision of Welsh language facilities for Welsh medium trials. Will he assure me that, whatever decisions are made by the Government following the Woolf recommendations, the integrity of the Wales and Chester circuit will not be placed under pressure or varied and, more important, that there will be adequate and enhanced provision for Welsh language trials?

Mr. Evans

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for mentioning to me earlier today that he intended to raise this issue, and his concern that Lord Woolf's recommendations might have an effect on it. I have had the recommendations looked at and I can find nothing in them that would have the effect to which he refers. I share his concern to ensure that the great progress made by the Government in providing Welsh language trials is maintained. He may have in mind Lord Woolf's call for major, complex cases to be heard at particular civil proceedings centres. I do not envisage that that would in any way affect current procedures for making Welsh language facilities available. I hope that he is reassured to hear that.