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Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages

Published Friday, June 8, 2018

This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [HL] on 20 June 2018.

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The Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [HL] is a government bill which seeks to make reforms to the rules regarding the deployment of judges and to provide for the undertaking of some judicial functions by HM Courts and Tribunal Service staff. The Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 23 May 2018 and is due to receive second reading on 20 June 2018.

The Bill contains three substantive clauses and one schedule:

  • Clause 1 changes existing legislation to remove restrictions on how judges can be deployed, enabling judges to hear a wider scope of cases.
  • Clause 2 makes minor changes to the law concerning some judicial titles.
  • Clause 3 and schedule 1 provides for court and tribunal staff to carry out some judicial functions and to provide legal advice to judges. It would establish a unified system for the judicial oversight for staff carrying out these tasks across the various jurisdictions.

These changes form part of an ongoing programme of reform of the courts and tribunal service in the UK. They are similar to some of the provisions previously included in the Prisons and Courts Bill. The Prisons and Courts Bill was introduced by the Government in the House of Commons during the 2016–17 session, however this Bill was dropped due to the calling of the 2017 general election.

The Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [HL] has been criticised both in parliament and in the press for including only some of the legislative measures to reform the courts and tribunal service that were in the Prisons and Courts Bill. For example, the Bill does not include provisions regarding the increased use of online technology in the courts. The Government has stated that further legislation to reform the courts and tribunal service will follow, as soon as parliamentary time allowed.

 

Lords Library notes LLN-2018-0062

Author: Edward Scott

Topics: Administration of justice, Courts, Legal profession

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