HC Deb 05 July 2001 vol 371 cc251-2W
41. Mr. Paterson

To ask the Solicitor-General if she will make a statement on the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the Crown Prosecution Service. [914]

The Solicitor-General

The Human Rights Act 1998 has undoubtedly affected all aspects of the work undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service. This was anticipated from a very early stage and a high priority was given to ensuring that the CPS was well prepared for the implementation of the Act on 2 October 2000.

An intensive training programme for prosecutors and selected caseworkers was undertaken before 2 October 2000. Follow-up training is still being undertaken. The quality and intensity of the training has meant that cases giving rise to human rights issues have been dealt with in a professional and effective manner. CPS areas have reported that prosecutors are using convention arguments with greater confidence than ever before.

The Human Rights Act has meant that the courts are considering many new arguments. A number of cases raising human rights points have already been decided by the appeal courts. Fast tracking of cases has enabled cases that have an impact on the criminal justice system as a whole to be heard quickly by the appeal courts. This has assisted in ensuring that blockages in the criminal justice system have not developed.