Prayers – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th May 1995.

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Photo of Mr Tony Banks Mr Tony Banks , Newham North West 12:00 am, 15th May 1995

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what advice is offered to judges in terms of their comments made in open court. [22513]

Mr. John M. Taylor:

Each judge is independent. However, the Judicial Studies Board is responsible for the training of the judiciary. Its courses emphasise the need for care, consideration and sensitivity in court.

Photo of Mr Tony Banks Mr Tony Banks , Newham North West

Does the Minister recall a letter that I wrote to the Lord Chancellor arising out of something in the Fleet News? A Crown court judge, Recorder Mr. Nicholas M. Atkinson, told two people who were being convicted at Winchester Crown court—I paraphrase rather than quote—"I would jail you if you were wearing Chelsea kit." That was a propos nothing because, so far as I was aware, they were not in any way connected with the right hon. and learned Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor). How can a recorder say something as outrageous and insulting to all decent Chelsea supporters as that? How does the Minister intend to call that individual to account?

Mr. Taylor:

It is indeed within my knowledge that the hon. Gentleman has raised that case with the Lord Chancellor and I read those press notices as well. I am instructed to say that the Lord Chancellor will reply to the hon. Gentleman as soon as possible.