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29 Oct 2002 : Column 766W—continued

Court Service

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans she has to downgrade Cheltenham County Court; and if she will make a statement. [77045]

Yvette Cooper: The Court Service report, Modernising the Civil and Family Courts, published on 23 May 2002 set out a vision of a new business model for the civil and family courts. The aim is to increase the choices for people who need to use the courts; reduce social exclusion in the system of justice; and improve the use of technology in the courts to enhance service. Under the proposals Cheltenham County Court would become a part-time local hearing venue on the basis that, on average, it currently has hearings on fewer than three days per week.

We will be consulting on our proposals for the court network next year. During this period, the views of all those with an interest in the future status of Cheltenham County will be canvassed. The consultation will include Members of Parliament.

Government Information (Disclosure)

Mr. Allen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list the statutory provisions prohibiting the disclosure of Government information which have been introduced since May 1997. [77090]

Yvette Cooper: It has not been possible in the time available to identify all the relevant legislation containing such prohibitions. The Lord Chancellor will report in November on progress of the Government's review of all legislation which prohibits disclosure of information. I will write to the hon. Member with the information he seeks before then and place a copy of my reply in the library of the House.

Halloran v. Delaney

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make statement on the case of Halloran v.Delaney and its effect on funding personal injury cases. [76931]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We are considering the implications of this Court of Appeal judgment and how it relates to the House of Lords judgment in Gallery v. Gray. As the time limit for seeking leave to appeal to the House of Lords in Halloran v. Delaney has not elapsed it would be inappropriate to comment any further.

King Edward VIII

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will announce

29 Oct 2002 : Column 767W

the result of his review of the status of papers relating to the abdication of King Edward VIII; and if he will make a statement. [77029]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on this subject on 11 June 2002, Official Report, column 118W. Any official papers relating to the abdication of King Edward VIII will need to be re-reviewed by Departments. It is hoped that the results of the review will be known and put into effect by the end of the year.

Knutsford Crown Court

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he expects to make a decision on the proposed closure of Knutsford Crown court. [77092]

Yvette Cooper: Following the responses received during public consultation and our own meeting on 23 July, I have asked for careful consideration to be given to all the real concerns raised. I expect to be able to make a decision on the future of the Crown court at Knutsford early in the new year. In the meantime, I can assure the hon. Member that the building will remain as a Crown court centre.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department for what reason the decision on the planned closure of Knutsford Crown court has been delayed. [77093]

Yvette Cooper: Following the responses received during public consultation and our own meeting on 23 July, I have asked for careful consideration to be given to all the real concerns raised. Full and proper consideration must be given to all the facts before any decisions are made. The future of the court must be seen in context of the overall number of Crown court sitting days required in Wales and the North West of England.

Magistrates Courts

Mr. Cash: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the name and date of closure of each magistrates' court that has closed since May 1997, by parliamentary constituency. [77278]

Yvette Cooper: Magistrates' courts are the responsibility of locally based Magistrates' Courts Committees (MCCs) and are a locally managed service.

Decisions to close individual courthouses are made by the local MMCs, with procedures for appeal. There have been 96 magistrates' courthouses closed since May 1997 in England and Wales, as set out in the table as follows. These have been listed in MMC area to which they belonged as information about which parliamentary constituency each MCC is a member of could not be obtained within the timescale. MCC area to which they belonged as information about which parliamentary constituency each MCC is a member of could not be obtained within the timescale.

MCCMagistrates' CourthouseClosure Date
BedfordshireApmthill1 January 2000
BedfordshireBiggleswade1 January 2000
BedfordshireDunstable1 January 2000
BedfordshireLeighton Buzzard 1 January 2000
CambridgeshireMarch31 December 1998
CheshireWarrington Patten Hall1 April 2001
CheshireMacclesfield Park Green1 April 2001
CumbriaKeswick30 April 2000
CumbriaAppleby31 May 2000
CumbriaWindermere31 May-2000
CumbriaWigton31 May 2000
DerbyshireAlfreton1 January 2001
DerbyshireAshbourne1 January 2001
DerbyshireBakewell1 January 2001
DerbyshireMatlock1 January 2001
Devon and CornwallBideford30 April 2001
Devon and CornwallExmouth30 April 2001
Devon and CornwallKingsbridge30 April 2001
Devon and CornwallSouth Molton30 April 2001
Devon and CornwallTeignmouth30 April 2001
Devon and CornwallTavistock30 April 2001
Devon and CornwallAxminster4 May 2001
Devon and CornwallTiverton4 May 2001
Devon and CornwallNewquay30 June 2001
DorsetChristchurch31 March 1999
DorsetGillingham30 September 2001
DurhamBarnard Castle31 December 1998
EssexBraintree31 December 1997
EssexClacton on Sea31 October 1997
EssexSaffron Walden31 December 1998
GloucestershireStow on the Wold30 June 1999
Greater LondonMarlborough Street31 March 1998
Greater LondonClerkenwell31 December 1998
Greater ManchesterAshton under Lyne (Manchester Road)31 August 1997
Greater ManchesterDuckinsfield31 August 1997
Greater ManchesterLeigh31 March 2001
Greater ManchesterMiddleton31 March 2001
GwentBargoed31 December 1997
GwentMonmouth31 December 1997
GwentPontlottyn31 December 1997
GwentPontypool31 December 1997
Hampshire and Isle of WightSouthampton (Commercial Road)31 August2001
HertfordshireBishop's Stortford31 March 1998
HertfordshireHatfield31 March 1998
HertfordshireHitchin31 March 1998
HumbersideBridlington9 November 2001
HumbersideBrough9 November 2001
HumbersideDriffieid9 November 2001
HumbersideHull (Guildhall)9 November 2001
HumbersideHull (Lowgate)9 November 2001
HumbersidePocklington9 November 2001
HumbersideWithernsea9 November 2001
KentSheerness31 December 1998
KentWest Mailing31 December 1998
KentGravesend9 June 2000
LancashireLytham31 -December 1998
LeicestershireLutterworth31 July 1998
LincolnshireMarket Rasen31 –March 1998
NorfolkDiss31 December 1998
NorfolkFakenham1 May 2002
North WalesCorwen31 December 1998
North WalesAbergele31 December 2000
North YorkshireStokesley31 December 1997
North YorkshireMalton6 February 1998
North YorkshireRiponl August 1998
NorthumbriaHebburn5 June 1997
NorthumbriaSouth Shields (Kepple Street)5 June 1997
South WalesPontardawe9 October 1997
South YorkshireThorne31 August 1997
StaffordshireLichfield31 March 2000
StaffordshireLeek31 March 2001
StaffordshireWomborne1 September 2001
SuffolkFelixstowe31 -December 1998
SuffolkHaverhill31 December 1998
SuffolkSaxmundham31 December 1998
SuffolkStowmarket31 December 1998
SuffolkNewmarket31 December 1998
SurreyChertsey31 March 1998
SurreyFarnham31 March 1998
SurreyOxted31 March 1998
SussexArundel1 December 2001
Thames ValleyAbingdon31 March 1999
Thames ValleyHenley on Thames31 March 1999
Thames ValleyWindsor31 March 1999
Thames ValleyBeaconsfield1 July 2002
Thames ValleyBuckingham1 July 2002
West MerciaBromsgrove31 May 1997
West MerciaWorcester31 March 2001
West MerciaBridgenorth31 January 2002
West MerciaLeominster31 January 2002
West MerciaLedbury31 May 1997
West YorkshireMorley31 March 1999
West YorkshirePudsey31 March 1999
West YorkshireKeighley1 April 2000
WiltshireChippenham (Market Place)30 June 1997
WiltshireWootton Bassett2 October 2000

29 Oct 2002 : Column 769W

Mr. Cash: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many magistrates courts in (a) England and (b) Wales opened in each year since 1997. [77279]

Yvette Cooper: 14 magistrates courthouses have opened in the years 1997–2002 in England and Wales. Chippenham in 1997, Birmingham (youth), Southshields and Ashton under Lyne in 1998, Cannock in 1999, Hinckley in 2000, Southampton, Peterlee, Hull, Beverley, Bridlington, Kidderminster and Hereford in 2001, and Worcester in 2002.


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