§ Mr. Chapman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in the light of the national shortage of court clerks and inadequate space and facilities in many courts, he will make a statement about planned additional funding for the magistrates courts.
§ Mr. John Patten
We are aware of the concern expressed by justices' clerks and others about difficulties in recruiting and retaining court clerks, especially those qualified as solicitor or barrister. I understand that the joint negotiating committee (JNC) which negotiates pay and conditions for magistrates' courts staff is collecting information on recruitmemt and retention, and will take it into account when considering the pay settlement for 1988. We will consider very carefully whatever proposals the JNC puts forward. Capital funds are available for replacing or improving accommodation and are allocated in order of operational need.