At the end of sitting weeks the Justice Committee publishes a brief summary of its activities in the form of a weekly update.
This week (Commencing 11 February 2019)
On Tuesday, we held our second evidence session on the role of the magistracy: follow-up.
We took evidence from:
- Lucy Frazer QC MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice
- Lady Justice Macur, Senior Presiding Judge
- Lady Arbuthnot of Edrom, Chief Magistrate, Senior District Judge
- Lady Justice Thirlwall, Deputy Senior Presiding Judge
Our witnesses told us about the role of the magistracy, the potential for its expansion, the impact of court closure and reform, and their views on the provision of training for magistrates.
The Chair of the Committee, Bob Neill MP, wrote to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke MP, expressing concerns about reports that ‘severe budgetary constraints’ have limited the opportunities for Recorders to sit.
The Chair has asked the Secretary of State to respond within two weeks.
This week, we have also published the following:
- Letter from Minister of State for Justice, regarding the extension of the statutory step-in period at HMP Birmingham, dated 11 February 2019 ( PDF 360 KB)
- Letter to Minister of State for Justice, regarding the extension of the statutory step-in period at HMP Birmingham, dated 13 February 2019 ( PDF 309 KB)
- Letter from G4S, regarding an update on HMP Prison Birmingham, dated 11 February 2019 ( PDF 318 KB)
- Letter from Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, on the appointment of Chief Executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, dated 6 February 2019 ( PDF 432 KB)
- Letter from Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on Publication of post-implementation reviews of Part 1 and Part 2 of LASPO Act 2012, the outcome of inquests review, and new legal support action plan, dated 7 February 2019 ( PDF 132 KB)
Inquiries with open calls for written evidence
The Committee’s inquiry into Court and Tribunal Reforms is accepting written evidence.
This inquiry into the HMCTS reform programme will consider the progress made with the reforms so far and the implications of planned changes, particularly in relation to access to justice.
The Committee is interested in evidence of the effects and potential effects of the HMCTS reform programme on access to justice, as well as the management of the reform process.
The Committee would welcome written submissions of up to 3,000 words by 11 March 2019 on all or some of the questions set out in the terms of reference.
The Committee will next meet on 26 February 2019. Further details will be announced after 21 February 2019.