HC Deb 18 July 1986 vol 101 cc654-5W
Mr. Pollock

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received the report of the review body on the use of judicial time in the superior courts in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rifkind

On Tuesday 23 July 1985. the First Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments considered the Draft Maximum Number of Judges (Scotland) Order 1985, the purpose of which was to increase the maximum number of judges of the Court of Session from 22 to 23. During the proceedings, my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland with responsibility for home affairs, health and social work, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram) announced the setting up of a review body under Lord Maxwell's chairmanship wth the following terms of reference:—To investigate means by which judicial time in the Superior Courts may be organised more effectively in order to secure earlier disposal of cases sent to the appropriate rolls of the Court of Session for proof, debate and appellate court hearings: and to report with recommendations. The review body was set up with the agreement of the Lord President of the Court of Session and it was asked to report as quickly as possible.

Lord Maxwell submitted his report to me on 25 April and since then its recommendations have been the subject of consultation between the Lord President and myself. The report is being published today. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will be made available to representative bodies who made submissions to Lord Maxwell's review body. Copies of the report are available from the Scottish Courts Administration at a price of £7.50.