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Courts Act 2003

The general duty

Section 1: The general duty

13.This section places the Lord Chancellor under a statutory duty to secure an efficient and effective administrative system, and other services (such as security or enforcement services), to support Supreme Court, county court and magistrates’ court business, referred to in the Act as the general duty.  The Supreme Court is defined in the Supreme Court Act 1981 (SCA 1981), section 1(1), as the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice and the Crown Court. The day to day responsibility for the administration of the courts will be delegated to a new executive agency of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, headed by a Chief Executive.

14.Section 1 also provides that within 18 months of this section coming into force, and annually thereafter, the Lord Chancellor must prepare and lay before both Houses of Parliament a report on the way he has discharged his general duty in relation to the courts, staff and accommodation.  This will include information on the operations of the Agency itself.

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