HC Deb 19 December 1989 vol 164 cc153-5W
Mr. Vaz

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vacancies there are currently countrywide for court clerks, giving figures by region; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

Manpower returns received from 91 of the 105 magistrates courts committees in England and Wales indicated that there were 102 vacancies for court clerks at 30 September 1989, the latest date for which information is available, as shown in the table.

Magistrates' courts committee Vacancies (full-time staff)
Avon 3
Barking 2
Barnet 2
Barnsley 0
Bedfordshire 4
Berkshire 3
Bexley 0
Birmingham 6
Bolton 1
Bradford 1
Brent 2
Bromley 0
Buckinghamshire n/a
Bury 0
Calderdale 0
Cambridgeshire 1
Cheshire 1
Cleveland 0
Cornwall 0
Coventry 1
Croydon 0
Cumbria 1
Derbyshire 3

Magistrates' courts committee Vacancies (full-time staff)
Devon 1
Doncaster 0
Dorset 0
Dudley 0
Durham 1
Ealing 2
East Sussex 1
Enfield 0
Essex n/a
Gateshead 0
Gloucestershire n/a
Hampshire 1
Haringey 1
Harrow 0
Havering 0
Hereford & Worcester 1
Hertfordshire 3
Hillingdon 0
Hounslow 0
Humberside 3
Isle of Wight 1
Kent n/a
Kingston n/a
Kirklees 1
Knowsley 1
Lancashire 3
Leeds 0
Leicestershire 2
Lincolnshire 3
Liverpool 2
London (City of) 0
London (Inner)1 7
Manchester 2
Merton 0
Newcastle 0
Newham n/a
Norfolk n/a
North Tyneside 1
North Yorkshire 1
Northamptonshire n/a
Northumberland 0
Nottinghamshire 5
Oldham 0
Oxfordshire 0
Redbridge n/a
Richmond 0
Rochdale 0
Rotherham 0
Salford 0
Sandwell 1
Sefton 0
Sheffield 0
Shropshire 1
Solihull 1
Somerset n/a
South Tyneside 1
St. Helens 0
Staffordshire 6
Stockport 1
Suffolk 0
Sunderland 1
Surrey 4
Sutton n/a
Tameside 0
Trafford 0
Wakefield 2
Walsall 0
Waltham Forest 1
Warwickshire 1
West Sussex 1
Wigan 0
Wiltshire 1
Wirral n/a
Wolverhampton 3
Clwyd 1
Dyfed 1
Gwent 0

Magistrates' courts committee Vacancies (full-time staff)
Gwynedd n/a
Mid Glamorgan 0
Powys 0
South Glamorgan n/a
West Glamorgan 1
Total 102
1 Comparable grade.

Mr. Vaz

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the latest figure available for the current year for(a) the number of cases in court which last five minutes or less, (b) the amount of legal aid costs these cases incur and c) what representation he has received on the waiting time for such cases; and if he will make a statement concerning the introduction of court timetabling.

Mr. John Patten

No information is available on the number of cases in magistrates courts which last five minutes or less and I understand from my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor that information on the number of legal aid bills submitted for cases where legal representatives appeared in court for five minutes or less could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

From time to time complaints are made about long waiting periods for cases which were disposed of very quickly. However, it can be difficult to predict how long a case will take.

As to the introduction of court timetabling I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to his question on 7 December 1989 at column 397.

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