By the Select Committee appointed to examine the
constitutional implications of all public bills coming before
the House; and to keep under review the operation of the constitution.
COURTS BILL [HL]
1. A bill has been introduced into this House
to make provision about the courts and their procedure and practice;
about judges and magistrates; about fines and the enforcement
processes of the courts; about periodical payments of damages;
and for connected purposes.
2. We consider that aspects of the bill raise
questions of principle about principal parts of the constitution.
We therefore wrote to the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Irvine of
Lairg, the Minister in charge of the bill, noting in particular
that the potential constitutional significance of the bill was
difficult to establish, as the framework document that will govern
the proposed Court Administration Councils was not available.
3. In his reply, the Lord Chancellor agreed that
the administration of the courts is a matter of constitutional
significance. We note that, while some of our concerns were addressed,
our question about the proposed number of Court Administration
Councils remains unanswered. Our correspondence is appended.
- We draw these matters to the attention of
the House as raising questions of principle about principal parts
of the constitution.
1 We set out our approach to scrutiny in our First
Report, Session 2001-02, HL Paper 11, Chapter 3. Back