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Her Majesty's Courts Service

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

The Lord Chief Justice and I are today issuing the following joint statement:

In January this year we announced the main principles of a partnership between us, as Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, in relation to the governance, resourcing and operation of the courts. A new framework document for Her Majesty’s Courts Service (Cm 7350) has today been laid before the House, which sets out our partnership in greater detail and gives effect to its provisions.

Our partnership builds on a series of recent developments including the concordat agreed in January 2004 between our predecessors, the creation of HMCS in April 2005, the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and finally the creation of the Ministry of Justice in May 2007. The concordat contained provisions in paragraphs 24 and 25 for the engagement of the Lord Chief Justice and judiciary in the resourcing of HMCS. We have agreed that these provisions are superseded by the new and more extensive arrangements put in place by the HMCS framework document.

The new arrangements place the leadership and broad direction of HMCS in the hands of a new board with an independent non-executive chair. We are pleased to announce the appointment of Sir Duncan Nichol to this position with effect from today, for a period of three years. Sir Duncan has extensive experience in public service delivery within the justice system and more widely.

The founding principles of our partnership are a firm and shared commitment to the delivery of an efficient and effective 21st century justice system and upholding the independence of the judiciary. We look forward to working closely with Sir Duncan and the new board in achieving our shared aims and endeavours.