Administration of justice

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Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the administration of the justice system. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

08.09.2016Referral fees in personal injury cases
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper which deals with the treatment of the payment or receipt of referral fees in personal injury cases in England and Wales and in Scotland.
26.08.2016Brexit: impact across policy areas
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers what impact Brexit might have. This will depend, among other things, on the Brexit negotiations, whether the UK stays in the European Economic Area and how the Government fills any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
10.06.2016Civil Legal Aid: England & Wales, Scotland and N Ireland compared
A comparison of the different legal aid schemes in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
07.06.2016A new UK judge for the European Court of Human Rights
Who will be the UK's new judge for the European Court of Human Rights? This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the two-stage process, the UK candidates, and recent criticisms and reforms.
31.05.2016No win, no fee funding arrangements
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at 'no win, no fee' funding arrangements in the UK. Following the withdrawal of civil legal aid, many litigants are reliant on such arrangements for access to justice. Unable to afford lawyers' fees, they enter into agreements whereby they will not pay their lawyers should they lose but must pay an extra success fee in the event that they are successful.
21.03.2016Court and tribunal closures
This briefing paper analyses court and tribunal closures in England and Wales.
26.02.2016Police funding
The existing police funding arrangements have been criticised as being complex and lacking transparency. In 2015 the Government consulted on proposals for reform of police funding in England and Wales. These reforms have been delayed. This briefing looks at existing arrangements for police funding in all parts of the UK and explains the proposed new funding formula for England and Wales.
18.12.2015The Bail Accommodation and Support Service
Constituents sometimes express concerns about nearby properties they think might be housing ex-offenders. This note gives background on the Bail Accommodation and Support Service, which houses people on bail and released early from prison in the community.
16.11.2015Social Indicators 2015
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include agriculture, crime, defence, education, elections, environment and energy, health, housing, local government, population and migration, social security and transport.
10.11.2015The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
This Commons Library Briefing gives an overview of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 which provides for some cautions and convictions to become 'spent'.

Lords Library Notes

25.01.2016Armed Forces Bill 2015-16: Briefing for Lords Stages
This briefing provides information in support of the House of Lords consideration of the Armed Forces Bill.
20.01.2016Work of the Ad Hoc Committees in 2013-14
This House of Lords Library briefing provides an overview of the work of the five ad hoc Lords Select Committees which reported in the 2013-14 session.
07.12.2015Future of Legal Aid
This Library Note has been prepared in advance of the debate in the House of Lords on 10 December 2015 on the future of legal aid.
25.06.2014Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (HL Bill 30 of 2014-15)
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill contains a range of proposals across four areas: criminal justice; young offenders; courts and tribunals; and judicial review. This Library Note summarises the key debates that took place on the Bill at report stage and third reading in the House of Commons, highlighting amendments made to the Bill, and refers to some of the other issues raised by MPs.
15.11.2011Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (HL Bill 109 of 2010-12)
This Library Note provides background information in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
24.03.2010Crime and Security Bill (HL Bill 45 of 2009-10). LLN 2010/010
Crime and Security Bill (HL Bill 45 of 2009-10) The Crime and Security Bill is wide-ranging. It contains provisions to reduce the reporting requirements on the police when they stop and search individuals; to set out a statutory framework for the retention and destruction of biometric material, including DNA data; to provide the police with the power to issue 'go' notices to alleged perpetrators of domestic violence; to extend injunctions for gang-related violence to 14-17 year-olds; to require courts to make parenting orders when a young person breaches an ASBO; to introduce a licensing scheme for wheel-clamping businesses; to create a new criminal offence of possessing a mobile phone in prison; to create a new offence of failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent a person under 18 from having unauthorised access to an air weapon; to compensate the victims of overseas terrorism; to enable licensing authorities to restrict the sale of alcohol between 3am and 6am; and to give the police new powers to search a person subject to a control order. The Bill has completed its passage through the House of Commons and is due for a second reading debate in the House of Lords on 29th March 2010. This House of Lords Library Note focuses on the debates on the retention and destruction of DNA data on the National DNA Database. It also gives brief details of the other parts of the Bill that were discussed at report stage in the Commons.


22.10.2015Unintentional Bias in Court
When asked to interpret information and draw conclusions, people are prone to a number of well understood, unintentional errors in reasoning called cognitive biases. This POSTnote examines how cognitive biases affect reasoning and decision-making, and outlines strategies to minimise their influence in court.
24.09.2015Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice
This POSTnote describes crime patterns, and highlights issues with crime measurement and data. It also identifies key developments in the criminal justice system.

Select Committee Reports

17.05.2011Appointment of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
27.10.2010Justice issues in Europe.
Government response. Ministry of Justice; Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
23.03.2010Justice issues in Europe.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
16.03.2010Cutting crime: the case for justice reinvestment.
Government response. Ministry of Justice report [Commons]
26.01.2010Appointment of HM CPS Chief Inspector.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House notes the imprisonment of Stuart Syvret; believes that the public authorities of the island of Jersey do not operate in a manner compliant with the requirements of the ...
That this House believes that victims should be at the heart of the justice system; recognises that many victims of dangerous drivers are left with horrendous injuries, some have been ...
That this House expresses deep concern following the decision made by the Moscow City Court in the appeal of political prisoners Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev; notes that ...
That this House is deeply concerned that Asiya Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, has been sentenced to death in Pakistan under the blasphemy laws; notes that she is the first woman ...
That this House regards with deep revulsion the decision of the Iraqi regime to carry out a death by hanging sentence on Tariq Aziz; and points out that British servicemen and women ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses