HC Deb 25 May 2000 vol 350 c1104
28. Mr. Lawrie Quinn (Scarborough and Whitby)

What contribution the Crown Prosecution Service will make towards the Lord Chancellor's review of the criminal courts system. [122430]

The Solicitor-General (Mr. Ross Cranston)

The Crown Prosecution Service is playing its full part in Lord Justice Auld's review of the criminal courts. An experienced CPS prosecutor, Nasrin Khan, has been seconded to the secretariat to Sir Robin Auld for the duration of the review. Staff from across the CPS are attending the seminars being organised by Lord Justice Auld and there are other contributions to his deliberations.

Mr. Quinn

Is my hon. and learned Friend able to tell the House what have been the key topics and priorities discussed with Lord Justice Auld about the work done by the Director of Public Prosecutions?

The Solicitor-General

One of our main concerns is listing in the courts. The CPS has found in the past that magistrates courts often adopt listing procedures that do not take into account the need for an efficient operation of the CPS. Appeals in cases of judge-directed acquittals is another important topic. In some cases, judges have decided on abuse-of-process grounds that charges should be dismissed and we take the view that that matter should be subject to review. The Home Office has referred it to the Law Commission, but a whole range of features involving management and other aspects of the operation of the courts is being considered.

Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough)

May I be assured by the Solicitor-General that the CPS will tell the criminal courts review the wholly uncontroversial point that the Government's plans for the reform of the jury system will lead to court delays, increased appeals, loss of public confidence in the criminal justice system and a great deal of extra expense?

The Solicitor-General

The matter will be subject to some examination by Sir Robin Auld. He is considering the whole procedure of the courts, and the operation of the jury system is one aspect of that. Our proposals will certainly not have the consequences that the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests. On the contrary, they will lead to a more efficient operation of the courts, which is one aspect of the review.

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