Adoption and Children Bill

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Ms Winterton: When I said that I would leave hon. Members to fight it out, I meant the hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk, who had been advocating the Law Society's case.

Mr. Brazier: The Minister has caught me out. I assure my hon. Friend that I did not mean in any way to detract from his remarks. I was preoccupied with preparing for the debate.

The first benefit would be an indication of the overall progress towards the absolutely critical objective of speeding up the court process. Secondly, the statistics would enable us, in the medium term, to determine whether the bulk of the delays are occurring in the court or around the periphery of it, as many lawyers allege. Thirdly, as a pattern developed, we would be able to determine to what extent courtroom delays occurred under particular judges. It would be odious to cite names; however, some former family lawyers have their own private league tables. In parallel, the patterns would show which of the various delays outside the court could be associated with particular local authorities. I shall sit down now to enable the Minister to reply in the time available.

Ms Winterton: I am afraid that we shall resist the amendment, but I want to say two things before we finish. As the hon. Gentleman said, judicial statistics are kept but at present they record only the number of adoption application orders made. The pilot of specialist centres will enable us to record the time taken in adoption cases, including the length needed for specific tasks, the completion of a CAFCASS officer's report, or a schedule 2 report, for example, although I accept that they relate only to county court proceedings—

It being Seven o'clock, The Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Sessional Order D [28 June] and the Order of the Committee [27 November], to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question accordingly negatived.

The Chairman then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that time.

Clauses 104 and 105 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Angela Smith.]

Adjourned accordingly at Seven o'clock till Thursday 6 December at half-past Nine o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Stevenson, Mr. George (Chairman)
Bellingham, Mr.
Blackman, Liz
Brazier, Mr.
Brennan, Kevin
Dawson, Mr.
Djanogly, Mr.
Gidley, Sandra
Llwyd, Mr.
Loughton, Tim
Love, Mr.
Moran, Margaret
Munn, Ms
Shaw, Mr.
Smith, Angela
Winterton, Ms Rosie

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Prepared 4 December 2001