§ Mr. Burnett
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations he has received in respect of proposals to close the magistrates court in Tavistock; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hoon
I have received one representation in respect of Devon Magistrates' Courts Committee's proposals to close the Tavistock Magistrates' Court.
Magistrates' courts are provided by the local paying authority for the use of magistrates' court committees (MCC). Decisions concerning the future of any magistrates' court are for the relevant MCC to determine, in consultation with the local paying authority.
Under section 56 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997, the Lord Chancellor's responsibility in relation to magistrates' courts is limited to that of an appellate court in a dispute between the MCC and its paying authority over a proposed court closure.
§ Mrs. Browning
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will consult on the future of magistrates courts. 429W
§ Mr. Hoon
Magistrates' courts are provided by the local paying authority for the use of the magistrates' courts committee (MCC). Decisions concerning the future of individual magistrates' courts are for the relevant magistrates' courts committee to determine, in consultation with the local paying authority. The paying authority may appeal to the Lord Chancellor against a proposed closure. That is the only time my Department becomes involved. I have, therefore no plans to consult on the future of magistrates' courts.
More generally, I refer the hon. Member for Tiverton and Honiton to the statement that I made in the House on 29 October, Official Report, columns 901–14, a copy of which is in the library.