HC Deb 09 May 1984 vol 59 cc389-91W
Mr.Christopher Murphy

asked the Attorney General, if he will list the main policy achievements of his Department and the Lord Chancellor's Department since May 1979.

The Attorney-General

The various Acts of Parliament introduced by the Lord Chancellor since May 1979 appear in the schedule to this answer. The more important include the Contempt of Court Act 1981, the Supreme Court Act 1981 and the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgements Act 1982. In addition, the Lord Chancellor has promoted five Acts giving effect to important recommendations for law reform made by the Law Commission, and 37 consolidation Acts.

Against the general background of a greatly increasing work load in the courts and tight constraints on public expenditure and Civil Service manpower, the Lord Chancellor has succeeded in reducing delays and increasing the despatch of cases by a combination of measures which include the following:

judge power—an increase of 16 per cent. in the number of Circuit judges and the amount of time sat by the part-time judiciary;court rooms—an increase of 14 per cent. in the number of courtrooms in the Crown Court;Improved procedures—major reforms to modernise procedure in the civil courts including the Court of Appeal, the High Court Chancery Division and the county courts, including a complete rewriting of the County Court Rules;administrative efficiency—the introduction of separate but complementary financial management systems to cover the operational requirements and cost of the courts and the policy formulation and programme expenditure requirements and costs of headquarters.In addition, the Lord Chancellor assumed Ministerial responsibility for criminal legal aid and costs and has taken steps in the Legal Aid Act 1982 to improve the system and to increase control over legal aid expenditure.Finally, more manpower will be made available to enable the Lord Chancellor to extend compulsory land registration to cover areas containing 85 per cent. of the population by 1987 compared with 73 per cent. at present.So far as my own Department is concerned, I would refer my honourable Friend to my Written Answer to him on 28 April 1983. My responsibilities, and those of my Department, in the formulation and implementation of policy remain as there described and our achievements since then have been of the same nature as those that I then reported.

Legislation for which the Lord Chancellor has been responsible since May 1979

Acts other than Consolidation Acts

Consolidation Acts






Consolidation Bills The following Consolidation Bills are at present proceeding through Parliament:

Other Bills There are two other Bills at present proceeding through Parliament: