HL Deb 06 November 1997 vol 582 cc299-300WA
Lord Burton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On whose and with what authority Joyce Stewart, of the Crown Service headquarters, wrote to Robert Gardener, Clerk to the Cambridge Crown Court (letter reference PQ 98/289), following publication of the judgment delivered at Cambridge Crown Court on 11 September 1997, instructing him not to release to Reginald Buckland (the appellant) in case A970014 any papers and documents lodged with the court by the Chief Constable of Cambridge, in respect of the case heard on 15 August 1997 against the refusal of the Chief Constable to vary the conditions of a firearms certificate; and whether they will place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

The Lord Chancellor

The question concerns a matter which has been assigned to the Court Service under the terms of its framework document. I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to respond.

Letter to Lord Burton from the Chief Executive of the Court Service, Mr. M. D. Huebner, dated 6 November 1997.

The Lord Chancellor has asked me to reply to your Question about the decision not to release papers and documents in this case.

Decisions on the release of court documents are a matter for the individual Crown Court and are based on guidance in the Crown Court manual, which emphasises that there is no entitlement to inspect Crown Court records.

In Mr. Buckland's case, the court sought advice from Court Service headquarters and this was contained in an internal communication from a member of my staff. It would therefore not be appropriate to place this in the Library.

However, I have made further inquiries which reveal that the entire contents of the court file, with the exception of routine correspondence, have already been made available to Mr. Buckland, either in the Court. Manager's letter to him of 21 October 1997 or previously to his solicitors.