Letter from the Lord Chief Justice to
the Chairman of the Committee
I shall endeavour to assist the Committee as
much as possible subject to it being appropriate for me to do
so having regard to the judicial office I hold. In answer to your
request for a brief note, I make the following points:
I believe the higher judiciary found
the programme of induction provided by the Judicial Studies Board
to be of very high quality and regarded it as a very important
contribution to the smooth introduction of the Act.
So far as the workload of the Court
of Appeal (Criminal Division) is concerned, if the volume of cases
has been affected at all, the effect has been only marginal. However,
in a significant minority of cases, additonal arguments have been
raised based upon the provisions of the Act. This has probably
lengthened some hearings.
The position regarding the Administrative
Court is broadly the same as that outlined above for the Court
of Appeal (Criminal Division).
I do not believe that the Act has
affected the ethos of the judiciary but, of course, the judiciary
is aware of the need to take into account the statutory provisions
contained in the Act in reaching its decisions.
So far, the Act has not had any significant
effect on the procedures of the criminal and administrative courts.
It could affect the Administrative Court.
Regarding emerging principles under
section 3 of the Act, I do not think that I can add to what the
judges have already said in their judgements as to how they are
already interpreting legislation in view of section 3.
My answer is the same with regard
to section 19. So far as I am aware there has been no decision
where particular significance has been attached to a statement
of compatibility in accordance with section 19 on a court. The
statement does however identify the Government's view as to compatibility
when the legislation is introduced and this is a matter which
a court may consider relevant when interpreting legislation.
I am grateful for the information that the Committee's
remit excludes the consideration of individual cases.
The Right Honourable the Lord Woolf
21 February 2001