COMMONS

Work of the Justice Committee in 2010-2015 Parliament report

20 March 2015

The Justice Committee publishes a report and four videos looking back over its work in the 2010-2015 Parliament, describing what it has accomplished and how it has done it. The purpose of the Report is twofold: to enhance public understanding of select committee work and to provide a legacy to assist the Justice Committee in the next Parliament in planning its activities.

The report is accompanied by four videos on the Committee’s webpages in which the Chairman of the Committee, Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, explains different aspects of the Committee’s work.

Chair's comments

Sir Alan said:

"This has been a Parliament in which select committees have grown in confidence and influence. As our report describes, we have tackled a huge range of subjects and made a real impact on Government policy and public debate on justice matters.

Of course there is a wide range of political views represented on the Committee, but we have almost always been able to reach consensus by focusing on evidence about what works."

"Core tasks"

The Committee’s report describes the main strands of work which it has undertaken in relation to each of the "core tasks" for select committees which have been set out by the Liaison Committee. These include examination of departmental strategy, policy and expenditure, pre- and post-legislative scrutiny, pre-appointment scrutiny, scrutiny of EU matters, and increasing public engagement.

The report also covers other aspects of the Committee’s work, such as its statutory role as a consultee on sentencing guidelines, and as the House of Commons main interlocutor with the judiciary. The report describes the profound impact the work of the Committee has had on improving the UK’s relationship with the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

In the report the Committee stresses the importance of following up on recommendations to maintain pressure for their effective implementation. The Committee also emphasises how important it is for its work that interested parties – representative bodies, experts, and individuals with direct experience – provide formal and informal evidence to it.

Additional comments

Sir Alan added:

"We have been very grateful to all those who have submitted evidence or assisted us in other ways in the course of the Parliament. Like all select committees, we want to hear the widest possible range of views: this makes our reports better informed and more effective.

On several occasions we have decided to hold inquiries into particular subjects as a result of public representations we have received, and those inquiries have often changed the terms of public debate or brought about changes in policy by the Government – just a few examples are work we have done on joint enterprise, women offenders, presumption of death, mesothelioma claims."

Further information

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