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Supreme Courts Act

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the present role is of the Court established under the Supreme Courts Act 1981. [131665]

The Supreme Courts Act 1981 established the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Crown Court, collectively, as the Supreme Court of England and Wales. The Court of Appeal is divided into Criminal Division, which hears appeals from the Crown Court, and the Court Martial and Civil Division, which hears appeals mainly against decisions in the High Court and county court. The High Court has three divisions: Chancery Division, Queens Bench Division and Family Division, each of which exercises appellate jurisdiction and handles different types of civil work. The Crown Court is responsible for trials of indictable offences, appeals from magistrates courts and cases for sentence.We have proposed the creation of a UK Supreme Court, which will be the highest court in the whole of the United Kingdom and will take on the present jurisdiction of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as well as the devolution functions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This will not affect the function of the three courts that currently make up the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what new name he proposes for the current Supreme Court. [131697]

We are consulting on how we should rename the current Supreme Court the jurisdiction of which is England and Wales. To avoid confusion in the future, the title of Supreme Court will be reserved for the new court for the United Kingdom which will be created as a result of the Government's constitutional reform proposals, announced on 12 June 2003.