'(1) For subsection (1) of section 12 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (role of the Lord Chief Justice) substitute—
"(1A) The Lord Chief Justice holds the office of President of the Courts of Northern Ireland and is Head of the Judiciary of Northern Ireland.
(1B) As President of the Courts of Northern Ireland he is responsible—
(a) for representing the views of the judiciary of Northern Ireland to Parliament, the Lord Chancellor and Ministers of the Crown generally;
(b) for representing the views of the judiciary of Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the First Minister and deputy First Minister and Northern Ireland Ministers;
(c) for the maintenance of appropriate arrangements for the welfare, training and guidance of the judiciary of Northern Ireland within the resources made available by the Lord Chancellor;
(d) for the maintenance of appropriate arrangements for the deployment of the judiciary of Northern Ireland and the allocatio t of the Courts of Northern Ireland is president of the courts listed in subsection (1D) and is entitled n of work within courts.
(1C) The President to sit in any of those courts.
(1D) The courts are—
the Court of Appeal
the High Court
the Crown Court
the county courts
the magistrates' courts.".'.—[Mr. Leslie.]
Brought up, and read the First time.
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. New clause 1A makes provision for a new statutory office and title of President of the Courts of Northern Ireland, which will be assumed by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. The new clause sets out the responsibilities of the President of the Courts of Northern Ireland and the courts to which the presidency applies. His responsibilities, which are similar to those already provided for in respect of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, include representing the views of the Northern Ireland judiciary to Parliament, the Lord Chancellor and Ministers of the Crown generally and, when the Northern Ireland Assembly is restored, to the Assembly, the First Minister, the Deputy First Minister and Northern Ireland Ministers.
The new clause also provides that the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland will be head of the judiciary in Northern Ireland—a post that is, by convention, held by the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor will of course continue to have ministerial functions in respect of courts administration on a broadly similar basis to that for England and Wales.
The new clause is straightforward and mirrors many of the existing provisions for the consequential changes to the post of head of the judiciary in England and Wales by virtue of the reforms of the office of the Lord Chancellor.
I have two brief questions for the Minister. First, on paragraph (b), will he explain the mechanisms whereby the President of the Courts of Northern Ireland can represent the views of the judiciary to the Assembly? I am advised that there are no established mechanisms for that, and it would be helpful if the Minister would explain the practicalities of that dimension.
Secondly, on paragraph (c), some confusion and bewilderment has been expressed about the inclusion of the concept of the welfare of the judiciary of Northern Ireland. What do the Government have in mind as regards the inclusion of the word "welfare"?
In reply to the points made by Mr. Hunter, other clauses relate to representations to Parliament and, similarly, to the Northern Ireland Assembly. They would be written representations, the nature and extent of which would be as prescribed in those other clauses.
On respecting and advocating the welfare of the judiciary, those are general phrases found elsewhere in legislation covering the role of the head of the judiciary in ensuring that proper facilities and arrangements are made for its work in the normal course of its duties.
Mr. Trimble asked why the provision was not included earlier. I do not have the whole history of the genesis of the Bill in front of me, but suffice it to say that I am glad that the provision is here now and that we can make it complete and perfectly formed in the way that we propose.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.