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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 Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs) 3:15 pm, 1st July 2003

After that admonishment, Mr. O'Brien, I am not sure how to respond. However, I understand the legitimate point raised by the hon. Member for Henley. He spoke of the role of the press as a utensil of justice, and he wants to ensure that the press know what cases are listed for the various courts. I have not seen the vehicle by which the lists are transmitted to the local press, although I am becoming increasingly familiar as inspiration comes to me.

I understand that lists are available from the justices' clerks, wherever they are located, and I am told that they can be obtained over the telephone. Other methods of publicising the lists may be used in different justice areas. One of the benefits of the new courts agency, with its unified administration, is that we could consider taking a national approach. Some magistrates courts areas may follow a traditional approach but we could look at best practice in order to ensure that lists are made available to the press and the media. I would be happy to consider that.