§ Sir John Biggs-Davison
asked the Attorney-General why it is intended to abolish the right to trial by jury in civil action cases in Northern Ireland; what representations he has received from the Northern Ireland Bar, and elsewhere, for and against such abolition; when he proposes to proceed with the requisite regulations under the Judicature Act 1978; and if he will make a statement.
In January this year it was announced that the Lord Chancellor had concluded that there was no compelling reason why Northern Ireland should differ from England and Wales in the use of juries in personal injury actions. This decision was reached at the conclusion of a review during which submissions from known interested parties, including the Northern Ireland Bar, were considered. The Lord Chancellor indicated that he proposed to bring forward legislation to give effect to this decision and a draft order (The Jury Trial (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1987) was laid in the House on 11 May 1987. As a result of the curtailment of the parliamentary timetable the order will not be reached before the dissolution of this Parliament.