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Witness Attendance

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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25.

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps the Lord Chancellor is taking to reduce delays in cases caused by lawyers unreasonably requiring witnesses repeatedly to attend court. [114241]

Witnesses are usually only required to attend court on the day the case is listed for trial. However, occasionally the needs of justice may require adjournment of a case to allow for re-examination of a witness. An adjournment would only be made on the request of the parties and it would be entirely a matter for the judge hearing the case to decide whether or not such a request was reasonable. Judges are mindful of the distress and inconvenience that can be caused by delay and wherever possible will work to avoid unnecessary adjournments.