§ Rev. Martin Smyth
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the likely consequences of the introduction of a system of three-judge courts in Northern Ireland; what studies have been 409W carried out of the feasibility of such a scheme; what views have been sought from or expressed by members of the Bar; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Tom King
[holding answer 13 November 1987]: The feasibility of introducing three-judge courts was considered by the right hon. Sir George Baker, OBE in his review of the operation of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 (Cmnd. 9222). His report lists the individuals and organisations who submitted written or oral evidence in the course of the review. No other formal study has been made on behalf of the Goverment in recent years, although the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights published a report on the composition of the Crown Court in 1986. As I have said on many occasions and recently in an interview on 21 October, following a meeting of the Anglo Irish Intergovernmental Conference, the Government are not presently persuaded of the merits of three-judge courts.