HC Deb 27 April 1999 vol 330 c132W
Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Minister of State, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps he is taking to make court proceedings less formal. [81028]

Mr. Hoon

The Government are aiming to create an open, fair and accessible justice system. In civil proceedings, the civil justice reforms, introduced yesterday, will provide rules in plain English; extend the simple and informal small claims procedure, and encourage greater use of alternative dispute resolution.

In criminal proceedings, the Government are considering ways to help change the culture in the youth courts, to make them less adversarial and more understandable for those involved. The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Bill contains a number of measures directed at enabling vulnerable or intimidated witnesses to give their best evidence. These include the power to order the removal of wigs and gowns where appropriate.

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