HC Deb 23 November 1990 vol 181 cc221-3W
Mr. Carrington

To ask the Attorney-General what steps have been taken by the Lord Chancellor to nominate members of the judiciary to deal with child care cases in the higher courts under the Children Act 1989; and whether the location at which these hearings will take place have been determined.

The Attorney-General

The Children Act 1989 is due to be implemented on 14 October 1991. Central to the philosophy of the Act is the principle that children's cases in the higher courts should be heard by judicary who, by reason of their experience and training, are specialists in family work.

Under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, the Lord Chancellor will have the power to nominate such judiciary, with the concurrence of the president of the family division. The nomination process is expected to extend over a period of months, but as a first step the Lord Chancellor has, with the approval of the right honourable Sir Stephen Brown, president of the family division, named 47 circuit judges who will be known as "designated family judges". This group of judges will be based at the network of county court "care centres" and will have the primary responsibility for hearing the child care cases transferred to those centres from the magistrates courts.

Each centre will also provide the focus for a local implementation committee which will be chaired by the designated family judge and which will play a major role in developing implementation plans based on local circumstances. It is envisaged that these committees will begin their work well before October 1991.

The location of the "care centres" which were announced on 2 August have been confirmed following widespread consultation with justices' clerks, local authorities and other interest groups. The 50 locations, together with the name of the designated family judge assigned to each one, are as follows:

Location Judge
South Eastern circuit
Brighton His Honour Judge Hammerton
Chelmsford His Honour Judge Groves TD RD
Guildford His Honour Judge Main QC
Ipswich His Honour Judge Barnett QC
Luton His Honour Judge Hamilton
Medway His Honour Judge Russell Vick QC
Milton Keynes His Honour Judge Tyrer
Norwich His Honour Judge Hyam
Reading His Honour Judge Kenny
Watford His Honour Judge Stockdale
Midland and Oxford circuit
Birmingham His Honour Judge Wilson Mellor QC
Coventry His Honour Judge Harold Wilson
Derby His Honour Judge Morrison
Leicester His Honour Judge Young
Lincoln His Honour Judge Hutchinson
Northampton His Honour Judge John Wilson
Nottingham His Honour Judge Heald
Oxford His Honour Judge Peter Crawford QC
Peterborough His Honour Judge Astill
Stoke His Honour Judge Kenneth Taylor
Telford His Honour Judge Shand
Wolverhampton His Honour Judge Stuart-White
Worcester His Honour Judge Roy Ward QC
Western circuit
Bristol Her Honour Judge Counsell
Taunton His Honour Judge Willcock QC
Plymouth His Honour Judge Sir Jonathan Clarke
Truro His Honour Judge Cox
Bournemouth Her Honour Judge McKinney
Portsmouth His Honour Judge Wroath
Wales and Chester circuit
Cardiff His Honour Judge Norman Francis
Chester His Honour Judge Roy Woolley
Caernarfon and Llangefni His Honour Judge Eifion Roberts QC
Warrington and Rhyl (to be appointed)
Swansea His Honour Judge Michael Evans QC
Newport His Honour Judge David Glyn Morgan
Merthyr Tydfil His Honour Judge Graham Jones
Northern circuit
Manchester His Honour Judge Lees
Liverpool Her Honour Judge Ebsworth
Location Judge
Carlisle His Honour Judge Bell
Blackburn His Honour Judge Lockett
Lancaster His Honour Judge Mahon
North Eastern circuit
Hull His Honour Judge Barker
Leeds His Honour Judge Geoffrey Baker QC
Newcastle His Honour Judge Paling
Middlesbrough His Honour Judge Peter Fox QC
Sheffield His Honour Judge Fricker
Sunderland His Honour Judge Carr
York His Honour Judge Coles QC

The principal registry of the family division will act as the centre for child care cases in London. Mrs. Justice Bracewell, whose appointment as family division liaison judge for London was announced on 27 September, will be assigned special responsibility for this centre.