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New Criminal Courts, South Lancashire

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action it is proposed to take on the Report of the Departmental Committee on a Central Criminal Court in South Lancashire, which was presented to Parliament in September last.

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor and I, after some local consultations, have it in mind to proceed with the committee's proposals, but in a slightly modified form. We contemplate that there should be established in Liverpool a new court which would combine the functions of the Liverpool assizes, so far as criminal business is concerned, and of the Liverpool city quarter sessions, and that a similar court should be established in Manchester combining the criminal work of the Manchester assizes and the functions of the Manchester city quarter sessions.Under these proposals, the recorder-ships of Liverpool and Manchester would be full-time, pensionable appointments. A permanent assize commission would be issued constituting all the Queen's Bench judges and the two recorders as members of the Liverpool court; and a similar permanent commission would be issued in respect of the Manchester court. Arrangements would be made whereby certain of the most serious cases would in practice be dealt with by a Queen's Bench judge. The ordinary assize commission, so far as South Lancashire was concerned, would then relate only to civil work.The Liverpool city justices would commit to the new Liverpool court all cases which they at present commit to Liverpool city quarter sessions or to the Liverpool assizes, and also cases for sentence under Sections 28 and 29 of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952; and the court would hear appeals from the Liverpool city justices. Similar provision would be made in respect of Manchester. Other justices in South Lancashire would commit to the Liverpool or to the Manchester court cases which at present they commit to the Liverpool or Manchester Assizes. The Exchequer would make a contribution towards the costs of the Liverpool and Manchester courts.Legislation will be necessary to give effect to these proposals. I cannot at present say when it will be possible to introduce such legislation.