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Public Appointments

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to his oral answer of 17 June 2003, Official Report, column 210, when the guidance was introduced that the composition of the bench should broadly reflect the voting pattern of the area, as evidenced by the last two general elections. [121098]

The Directions for Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace were introduced during September 1998 by the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the right hon. Dr. Jack Cunningham MP.These followed the directions prepared and issued at the same time by the former Lord Chancellor's Department, now the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will list for each bench in the Duchy of Lancaster (a) the political balance of the bench and (b) the voting pattern for the area. [121099]

The overriding criteria when appointing magistrates are the suitability for appointment and the ability of the benches to continue to efficiently handle the case load in their area. Although the voting pattern of the area is taken into consideration, other factors such as age, gender, occupation, ethnic origin and area of residence are also taken into account.There are approximately 3,900 magistrates serving on the 26 benches in the Duchy of Lancaster area of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Voting patterns of these benches and the area they serve are listed in tables that have today been placed in the Libraries of the House.