Court Proceedings (Adjournment) (Hansard, 2 March 2004)
HC Deb 02 March 2004 vol 418 cc871-2W
John Cryer

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will make an assessment of the impact on victims of crime of repeated adjournments of court proceedings at crown and magistrates' courts. [157332]

Mr. Leslie

In the Crown court close management of ineffective trials by courts and other Criminal Justice System agencies has resulted in a reduction to 17.8 per cent. in January 2004 from the baseline of 23 per cent. set last year. Progress in the magistrates court has been slower, but is still 1.5 per cent. better than the baseline, at 29.4 per cent. in January.

Interviews with victims of crime have found that the inconvenience and emotional upheaval each adjournment causes reduces the likelihood that the victim will attend the next time.

The Government are addressing the problem of ineffective trials through the Effective Trial Management Programme, which will ensure cases are ready on the trial date. In addition, on 4 February the Government announced a £27 million award for the "No Witness, No Justice" Project. This project will ensure victims and witnesses needs are taken into account so that they are more likely to attend on the date of trial.

The impact of each is being assessed.

John Cryer

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce the number of unnecessary adjournments of court proceedings. [157333]

Mr. Leslie

Adjournments and ineffective hearings in criminal cases are often caused by poor case preparation. The Department for Constitutional Affairs is working with the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service to reduce the number of ineffective trials and improve case preparation and progression, including through the Effective Trial Management Programme. All criminal courts have been directed to address the rate of ineffective trials.

GLOBAL ISLES COURT OF RECORD