§ Lord Hylton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether and when they intend to introduce statutory time limits on the pre-trial stages of criminal proceedings, and particularly for scheduled offences, as was provided for by the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1987.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Lyell)
An evaluation exercise has been under way since 1987 on the likely effects of introducing statutory time limits in preliminary proceedings in Northern Ireland. We hope to reach a decision shortly. However, as was made clear when the enabling legislation was going through Parliament, the Government would need to be confident that the effect of introducing time limits would be to speed up the criminal justice process rather than to procure the release on bail, or even discharge, of people charged with serious terrorist offences.