HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 cc54-5W
Miss Widdecombe

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will seek to change the rules of court to permit(a) the Court of Appeal to correct an order of the court if it can be shown that the Lord Justices reached their conclusion inappropriately and (b) a right of appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal where it over-ruled the original decision of the court; and under what powers the Court Service may reject or delay an application for an appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling. [39433]

Mr. Wills

It is not clear whether this question relates to the civil courts or to the criminal courts and so I have answered for both jurisdictions.

In the civil courts:

  1. (c) the recent Court of Appeal decision in Taylor v. Lawrence ([2002] EWCA Civ 90) sets out the circumstances in which it might consider reopening an application or appeal;
  2. (d) there already is a right of appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal where it "over-ruled the original decision of the court" (of first instance)—that appeal lies to the House of Lords and permission is required.

In the criminal courts:

  1. (c) the Court of Appeal has an inherent jurisdiction to reopen cases where it considers that an earlier hearing was listed in error and the Criminal Cases Review Commission may refer a case hack to the Court;
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  3. (d) the position is the same as with civil cases, except that the Court of Appeal has to certify that there is a point of law of general public importance involved before an application for permission can be made.

The Lord Chancellor has no plans to propose any alteration to the present rules in either jurisdiction.

The Court Service does not reject any application which is properly made and is within the Court's jurisdiction. When any application to the Court is listed for hearing is a case management decision, usually made by a member of the Court's listing staff acting under general instruction from the Court.

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