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Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 3rd November 2014.

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Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what further training is planned for (a) the probation service, (b) magistrates and (c) judges on the new stalking laws.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

(a) The National Probation Service is a new organisation that has only been in existence since June 2014. The Professional Skills Training team are in the process of putting together the national training plan and stalking awareness will be part of this.

(b) & (c) The responsibility for judicial training for courts judiciary lies with the Lord Chief Justice as head of the judiciary and is exercised through the Judicial College. Magistrates sit with legal advisers in court who advise them on the law.

The new stalking laws came from the amendments made to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 by the Protection of Freedom Act 2012. The Judicial College provides regular updates to judges and legal advisers on any changes to the law via a jurisdictional electronic internal newsletter, and did so in respect of these provisions in June 2012.

The Home Office also issued a circular [Ref: 018/2012] on the new provisions in October 2012. This was issued to the Association Of Chief Police Officers (in England And Wales And Northern Ireland), Association Of Magisterial Officers, Central Council Of Magistrates Courts, Justices Clerks Society, Law Society, Magistrates Association, Ministry of Justice, and the Judicial College.

In addition the Justices Clerks Society also issued a circular to their members outlining the new provisions in December 2012.

The Judicial College regularly assesses judicial training needs and how to meet them. Ultimately, judges use the law to make independent decisions based on the evidence and information provided to them in court.

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