Tuesday, 15 May 2012

New Bills.....New Courts....

Following HMQ's speech from the throne, the Crime and Courts Bill has been laid before Parliament:

As trailed here, it abolishes all the little local county courts and replaced them with one County Court:  clause 17 of the Bill does the business:

There is to be a court in England and Wales, called the county court, for the purpose of exercising the jurisdiction and powers conferred on it

As I said in my earlier post it is very sad for all those local courts with their little foibles and local practices....but what is more alarming is the the list of the Judges who will be able to sit in the new Court alongside the usual CJs, Recorders, DJs, DDJs....

  • District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts),
  • a person appointed under section 30(1)(a) or (b) of the Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1951 (assistants to the Judge Advocate General),  
  • a judge of the First-tier Tribunal by virtue of appointment under paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 2 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, 
  • a member of a panel of chairmen of employment tribunals established for England and Wales

Quite what that set of unsuitable and untrained judges will be doing in The County Court is beyond me........

The Bill also abolishes the Family Division of the High Court, the family jurisdiction of the county courts and the Family Proceedings Court (Magistrates administering family justice) and amalgamates them all into one single Family Court.

We are also awaiting a Justice and Security Bill as most recently discussed here.

As well as a Defamation Bill to end the right to jury trial in this area -draft bill here

An Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is also expected and will include this:

Workplace dispute resolution Overhaul of the employment tribunal system and transformation of the dispute resolution landscape.
Providing options outside the employment tribunal process by encouraging ‘early conciliation’ where all claimants would lodge details of their claim with Acas giving parties the opportunity to engage in conciliation and renaming compromise agreements as ‘Settlement’ Agreements to more accurately reflect their function and encourage greater use. Improving the tribunal system by increasing flexibility and encouraging employer compliance

We wait with baited breath....


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