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Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what plans there are for the temporary closure of courts as a result of departmental overspending: which courts are likely to be affected: an on what basis they are selected. [110165]

There are no plans to close any Crown or County Courts in England and Wales temporarily in order to contain expenditure.Decisions to close, or retain, Magistrates' Courts are not made by my Department, but by locally based Magistrates' Courts Committees (MCC).

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department whether the Lord Chancellor plans to introduce reduced sitting days for courts. [110213]

The Lord Chancellor has no present intention of doing so.In fact the planned number of sitting days in the Crown Court for 2003–04 has been increased from 101,297 in 2002–03, to 101,500. This is to take account of the increase in workload.