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Criminal Justice System

Volume 532: debated on Tuesday 13 September 2011

We are taking forward a programme of work to tackle inefficiency, including by streamlining the administration of cases, extending digital working, and making greater use of video links. We will in due course bring to the House further proposals that will build on the effective response of the criminal justice system to recent public disorder.

Yes, I do, and we are looking to do precisely that, so my hon. Friend is right. It is noticeable, for instance, that more than half of defendants in either-way cases sentenced in the Crown court receive a sentence that could have been imposed by magistrates. The Government understand that the Sentencing Council is developing draft allocation guidelines to support magistrates in determining where cases should be heard, and we will consult on the draft guidelines in the autumn.

In considering the efficiency of the criminal justice system, does the Minister know whether there has been any discussion in Cabinet about what the appropriate punishment is for drug-related offences involving class A substances, such as cocaine?