HC Deb 01 July 1971 vol 820 cc199-201W
Mr. Percival

asked the Attorney-General at what places the High Court and Crown Court will sit regularly after the coming into force of the Courts Act, 1971.

The Attorney-General

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor has considered the representations which he has received following the answer which I gave to my hon. and learned Friend when I announced my noble Friend's provisional choice of court locations on 26th January. He has decided that there are insufficient reasons for departing at this stage from those proposals, but he will be reviewing the position from time to time so as to ensure that adequate court facilities are provided whenever a need for them is shown.

The list in my previous answer accordingly shows the places where the High Court and Crown Court will sit regularly from 1st January, 1972, when my noble Friend proposes that the Courts Act should come into operation. It will eventually be necessary to build new courts at Oxford and Luton, with a view to their becoming 1st and 2nd-tier centres respectively. He has already undertaken to consider raising Teesside to lst-tier status as soon as the new courts there are in use and adequate accommodation is provided for High Court judges; this might involve a change in the status of the higher courts at York. Although Lancaster will be only a 3rd-tier centre, the High Court judges may continue to visit it from time to time, especially until suitable accommodation is available for them at Preston. He does not propose to implement the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Assizes and Quarter Sessions that Bangor should be substituted for Caernarvon as a lst-tier centre for North Wales. Welshpool will cease to be used for sittings of the Crown Court as soon as suitable accommodation for High Court judges is available at Newtown.

My noble Friend is aware that his decision may lead to some inconvenience to people living in remote areas who may, albeit infrequently, be called upon to attend at a Crown Court centre further away from their homes than assizes or quarter sessions have sat in the past. He therefore proposes that, even though there may not be sufficient business in these areas to justify regular sittings of the Crown Court, a circuit judge should visit the locality from time to time if the amount of business arising in the area justifies it. Boston, Lampeter, Penzance and Scarborough are examples of the places he has in mind.—[Vol. 810, c. 98.]

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