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Courts Act 2003

Commentary on Sections: Part 5

Section 58: Inspectors of court administration etc

141.This section establishes a new independent inspectorate for court administration that will collectively be known as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Court Administration. Inspectors will be appointed by the Lord Chancellor and one of these will be appointed by the Lord Chancellor as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Court Administration. The Lord Chancellor will meet the costs, including payments in respect of remuneration and allowances of the Inspectorate. Until the passing of this Act there were inspection arrangements for the administration of magistrates’ courts and CAFCASS, but not in relation to any other courts (JPA 1997, sections 62-63).

Section 59: Functions of inspectors

142.This section defines the functions of the inspectors. Inspectors will have the duty to inspect and report on the system and services which support the Crown Court, county courts and magistrates' courts. They will continue to report on the performance of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) functions. Inspectors will also be required to discharge such other functions in connection with those courts and the functions of CAFCASS as may be specified by the Lord Chancellor after consultation with the Chief Inspector. The Lord Chancellor will be able to amend, by order, the list of courts listed in this section.

Section 60: Functions of Chief Inspector

143.This section defines the functions of the Chief Inspector.

144.The Chief Inspector will be required to submit an annual report to the Lord Chancellor on the work of the Inspectorate for that year, which must be laid before Parliament. The Lord Chancellor will have the power to give directions as to the information to be given in the report, the form in which it is to be given and the time by which the report is to be made. The Chief Inspector must also report to the Lord Chancellor on any matter in connection with the courts mentioned at section 59 and the functions of CAFCASS. The Chief Inspector will have discretion to designate an inspector to undertake his duties during any period when he is absent or unable to act.

Section 61: Rights of entry and inspection

145.Section 61 provides that the Inspectors will have a right of entry to any workplace premises occupied by those providing support systems or services to the relevant courts or CAFCASS. They will have the power to inspect and take copies of any relevant records, and access to any relevant computer held records. Inspectors will not however have access to hearings held in private or to private deliberations, and must exercise their rights to enter premises and to inspect and have access to records at reasonable times only.

Part 6: Judges.Summary

146.Part 6 makes provisions about certain judicial titles and includes measures to provide greater flexibility in the deployment of judicial resources.

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