Criminal justice reform in England & Wales

AuthorRight Hon. Lord Justice Auld
PositionLord Justice of Appeal for England and Wales
Despite the general heading given by the programme
to my talk, “Criminal Justice Reform in England & Wales”, I
do not think it would be of value to this conference to attempt
in half an hour even an outline of my work on the Criminal
Courts Review. Its terms of reference were wider than those
of your Working Group. There are significant differences
between our systems in constitutional terms, in the way in
which our systems of criminal justice are structured and
organised and, I believe, in the intensity of the political debate
attending proposals for reform.
As to the last, I may be wrong, but I sense that here the
subject does not engender so much passion. Maybe that is
because your Constitution gives you a stability and security
that deters the constant and restless urge to change that seems
to beset us.
Another reason why I should stray from my brief is
that much has happened since I submitted my report some 15
months ago. There has been a further period of public
consultation. I took little or no part in that. Last July the
Government produced a White Paper indicating its acceptance
of the majority of my 300-odd recommendations and its
further consideration or rejection of others. Yesterday, the
Home Office published a Criminal Justice Bill, some 360
pages long and to which there are already–I am told–over
1,000 proposed governmental amendments. And there is, I
believe, a draft Courts Bill, for which the Lord Chancellor is
responsible, to re-structure part of our system of criminal
courts. But I have not seen that. Like Sam Goldwyn, I never
prophesy, especially about the future. There is certain to be a
2003] Criminal Justice Reform in England and Wales 1
* Lord Justice of Appeal for England and Wales.

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