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Clause 30 - Places, dates and times of sittings

Part of Courts Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 1st July 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:15 pm, 1st July 2003

As the hon. Gentleman knows, I entirely agree with his point, and I venture to say that the way that he views paragraph (d) is the only way that it can be interpreted. It provides for what we call batch processing. The hon. Gentleman may know that, in respect of, for example, fixed penalty cases, a particular court is already used to send things out for the whole of the rest of the country. Northampton, one of the areas in which my former chambers were located, is one of the courts that is used for sending things out over the whole of England. Admittedly, they are intended to be dealt with by post, but there is a great temptation to move in the direction of administrative convenience, and both the hon. Gentleman and I are concerned that we should not allow administrative convenience to take over from the need to ensure that people can have a hearing at a place that is convenient for them.