§ Mr. Boateng
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to amalgamate magistrates courts committee areas in England and Wales; if he will name those committees so affected; and if he will list the names of the individuals and organisations that have made representations to him on this matter since the Police and Magistrates' Courts Act 1994 received the Royal Assent.
Mr. John M. Taylor
No formal submission under section 69 of the Police and Magistrates' Courts Act 1994 has yet been received by the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor does not therefore have any settled plans to exercise his power, under section 69(3) of the Act, to amalgamate magistrate courts committees. Before that power may be exercised the affected magistrates' courts committees, magistrates, and interested authorities will be consulted under the Act. Informal discussions have taken place between representatives of several magistrates courts committees and me and my officials. Those discussions have explored both the question of amalgamation and alternatives to it which achieve the same objectives.