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Courts Act 2003

Offices, titles, styles etc.

Section 62: Head and Deputy Head of Civil Justice

152.This section requires the Lord Chancellor to appoint a Head of Civil Justice, and gives power to appoint a deputy. It has been recognised that there is an ongoing need for a Head of Civil Justice to provide consistency and an overview. Although, it is accepted that the level of work may decrease as the Woolf reforms (the reforms to the civil justice system contained in the Access to Justice Report) continue to settle down. Therefore, the need for support from a deputy may decline.

153.It is intended that the Lord Chancellor should have a choice when appointing the Head of Civil Justice and for that reason those eligible for appointment should be the Master of the Rolls, the Vice-Chancellor and any ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal.

154.The Head of Civil Justice and the Deputy Head of Civil Justice, where there is one, will be ex officio members of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (Civil PRC) as provided for in section 83. No other specific functions, duties or powers to be attached to these posts are to be provided in statute.

155.If the Master of the Rolls was neither the Head or Deputy Head of Civil Justice, he would still be an ex officio member of the Rule Committee.

Section 63: Ordinary judges of the Court of Appeal

156.This section deals with a specific problem: section 2(3) of the SCA 1981 currently requires an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal to be styled a “Lord” Justice of Appeal whatever his or her gender. This section removes this anomaly.

Section 64: Power to alter judicial titles

157.Although section 63 amends one title, Lord Justice of Appeal, section 64 provides the Lord Chancellor with a power to amend the other titles listed (which encompasses all of the judicial titles in the Supreme Court and county courts) in the future to avoid similar problems arising. Some titles may need modernisation, to make them more easily understandable to court users. The acceptance commanded by titles containing a presumption of male gender might also change. Such orders may only be made after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls, President of the Family Division and Vice-Chancellor.

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