§ Mrs. Llin Golding
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list all fast-tracking initiatives being made to reduce delays faced by child witnesses; and if these initiatives are to be evaluated for broader application.240W
Mr. John M. Taylor
Fast-tracking schemes are currently in place at the following Crown court centres: Leeds, Lincoln, Newcastle, covering cases from Durham; Peterborough; Plymouth, pilot scheme; Preston and Winchester, pilot scheme. Area criminal justice liaison committees are still considering whether similar schemes can be set up in other Crown court centres. However, a number of informal schemes are also in existence, in response to the duty on the courts to ensure that waiting times in cases involving child witnesses are kept to a minimum.
The Criminal Justice Consultative Council is due to review the introduction of fast tracking schemes in the Crown court at its next meeting in April, when a decision will be taken as to further action.