HC Deb 15 October 1969 vol 788 cc90-1W
Mr. Dewar

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action has been taken to implement the recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee on Sheriff Court Records; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ross

The principal recommendations made in the Committee's report, which was published in March, 1967, were that all records of earlier date than 1860 should be preserved; that records of a later date than 1860 should be subject to a process of weeding so as to preserve only the essential papers; and that principal categories of sheriff court records, as defined by the Committee, should be kept for a period of 25 years for transmission at the end of that period to the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. The Committee also recommended that the records of one representative sheriff court district should be preserved substantially intact as a national sample of the development of sheriff court procedure and administration and it was subsequently decided that the Linlithgow District of the Sheriffdom of the Lothians and Peebles should be designated for this purpose.

Following consultation with the Keeper of the Records and the various bodies which submitted evidence to the Committee, I invited the Lord President of the Court of Session to consider making the regulations under the Public Records (Scotland) Act, 1937, which were necessary to implement these recommendations. A draft of the Preservation of Sheriff Court Records Regulations 1969 made by the Lord President has now been laid before Parliament and it is proposed that the regulations should come into operation on 1st January, 1970.