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Courts Act 2003

Practice directions

166.The Heads of Division (the Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls, President of the Family Division and Vice-Chancellor) have power under the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction to make directions as to practice and procedure. Section 74A of the County Courts Act (CCA 1984) gives the Lord Chancellor overall control over practice directions to be followed in county courts. He, and any person authorised by him, may make directions as to the practice and procedure of county courts. But there is no statutory provision about practice directions for magistrates’ courts. This Act will allow the Lord Chief Justice, with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor, to make directions as to the practice and procedure of the criminal courts. It will also provide statutory authority for the President of the Family Division, with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor, to be able to issue practice directions in her own name which are binding on the magistrates' courts and county courts when hearing family proceedings.

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