Children Act

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1991.

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Photo of Mr Kenneth Hind Mr Kenneth Hind , West Lancashire 12:00 am, 17th June 1991

To ask the Attorney-General how he plans to deal with the changes in court procedure following the introduction of the Children Act 1990.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

Last month family proceedings rules providing for new procedures in the High Court, county courts and magistrates courts were made. In relation to the Children Act, they are effectively identical.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Hind Mr Kenneth Hind , West Lancashire

I am obliged to my right hon. and learned Friend for that answer. Will he confirm that the Children Act will provide more speedy and compassionate methods of dealing with all matters relating to children? There has been much controversy in recent months and years, such as that surrounding the case in the Orkneys. Does he accept that many members of the Bar are worried about the possible deleterious effect on the speed with which cases go through the courts unless the procedure is properly organised?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

My hon. Friend is right to look forward to considerable benefits to child law from the implementation of the Children Act. It will provide a uniform system of law for all levels of court, enabling cases to be set at the right level—High Court, county court or magistrates court—as appropriate. The transitional problems are being carefully dealt with, and I have no doubt that the High Court will keep a close watch on the cases that currently come before it and those that will remain before it after the transitional period in October.