§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will give the location and tier of each Crown court on the Wales and Chester circuit, and when it started to try indictable criminal cases whether as Crown court or assizes/quarter sessions; what plans the Lord Chancellor has in relation to each; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor
The location and tier of Crown court centres on the Wales and Chester circuit are as follows:
- (a) First Tier Centres
- Caernarfon, Cardiff, Chester, Mold, Swansea.
(b) Second Tier Centres
- Carmarthen, Merthyr Tydfil. Newport (Gwent), Welshpool.
(c) Third Tier Centres
- Dolgellau, Haverforclwest, Knutsford, Warrington.
The jurisdiction to try indictable offences was transferred to the Crown court sitting at these locations following the implementation of the Courts Act 1971 on 1 January 1972, save for Warrington where jurisdiction was conferred in July 1977. To research the dates when jurisdiction to try indictable criminal cases was conferred at the above locations at assize or quarter sessions would involve disproportionate cost.
The Lord Chancellor, through his senior management, constantly reviews the operational needs of the circuits in relation to both criminal and civil business. There are no changes planned in relation to utilisation of the court centres listed above save for the major refurbishment work currently under way at the Crown court centre at Chester, and similar work planned for the Cardiff and Caernarfon court centres.