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Magistrates' Courts: Derbyshire

Volume 593: debated on Thursday 3 September 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 22 July (

Official Report, cols, 876–878) on centralising magistrates' courts in Derbyshire

  • a) how many additional passenger miles will be made by staff and others attending court as a result of this proposal;
  • b) whether the availability or otherwise of public transport was taken into account in deciding to centralise the courts;
  • c) whether the centralised proposals comply with the Government's White Paper on Transport (CM 3950) which seeks to reduce the need for travel and, in paragraph 1.49 states "Government departments (should) take the lead in introducing 'green transport plans' which cut down on car use", and
  • whether the Lord Chancellor's Department plans to provide financial support for public transport to mitigate the effect of the cost and inconvenience of these proposals. HL3078

    Six appeals are outstanding against the local proposals but have yet to be fully considered:

  • a) no data have been collated about additional passenger miles for court users; there will be considerably reduced travel for court staff and for the Crown Prosecution Service as there will be fewer locations between which they must commute;
  • b) public transport was taken into account; both distance and travel time were considered; in addition a detailed survey of non-professional users was conducted to ascertain their travel arrangements;
  • c) in light of the user survey, the Courts' Committee do not believe its proposals will have a significant impact on "green issues": For my part, I am asked to decide appeals lodged against a given determination in accordance with Section 56 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997; I have the power to ask a courts' committee to review its determination in light of any new information; that courts' committee may then decide to rescind its earlier decision; if not the appeal continues; I do not have the power to rehear the entire case to take account of new information or policies.
  • My department does not plan to provide additional financial support as suggested; magistrates' courts are a locally managed service.