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Courts Act 2003

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Provisions relating to Northern Ireland

102Power to alter judicial titles: Northern Ireland

(1)The Lord Chancellor may by order—

(a)alter the name of any of the offices of the Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland or of the county courts in Northern Ireland which are listed in subsection (2);

(b)provide for or alter the way in which the holders of any of those offices are to be styled.

(2)The offices are—

  • County court judge

  • Deputy judge of the county court

  • District Judge

  • Judge of the Court of Appeal

  • Lord Chief Justice

  • Master (Bankruptcy)

  • Master (Care and Protection)

  • Master (Chancery)

  • Master (Enforcement of Judgments)

  • Master (High Court)

  • Master (Probate and Matrimonial)

  • Master (Queen’s Bench and Appeals)

  • Master (Taxing Office)

  • Presiding judge for the county courts

  • Puisne judge of the High Court.

(3)The Lord Chancellor may also by order provide for or alter the way in which deputies or temporary additional officers appointed under section 74(1) of the 1978 Act are to be styled.

(4)Before making an order under this section the Lord Chancellor must consult the Lord Chief Justice.

(5)An order under this section may make such provision as the Lord Chancellor considers necessary in consequence of any provision made under subsection (1) or (3).

(6)The provision that may be made under subsection (5) includes provision amending, repealing or revoking any enactment.

(7)The power to make an order under this section is exercisable by statutory rule for the purposes of the Statutory Rules (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 (S.I. 1979/1573 (N.I. 12)).

(8)An order under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament in the same manner as a statutory instrument; and section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 (c. 36) applies accordingly.

(9)“The 1978 Act” means the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (c. 23).

103Official Solicitor of Northern Ireland

(1)In Schedule 3 to the 1978 Act (statutory offices) the entry relating to the Official Solicitor ceases to have effect.

(2)Amend section 75 of the 1978 Act (Official Solicitor) as follows.

(3)For subsection (1) substitute—

(1)The Lord Chancellor, after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice, may appoint as Official Solicitor to the Supreme Court a person who is—

(a)a solicitor of the Supreme Court of at least 7 years' standing, or

(b)a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland of at least 7 years' standing.

(4)After subsection (5) insert—

(6)The Official Solicitor shall hold and vacate office in accordance with the terms of his appointment (which may include provision about retirement, dismissal or resignation).

(7)The Lord Chancellor may pay to the Official Solicitor such remuneration and allowances as the Lord Chancellor may determine with the consent of the Treasury.

(8)Service as the Official Solicitor is employment in the civil service of the State for the purposes of section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 (Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme).

(9)While the office of Official Solicitor is vacant or the Official Solicitor is unable or unwilling to act, the Lord Chancellor may, after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice, appoint a person as temporary Official Solicitor; and the temporary Official Solicitor—

(a)may be appointed only if qualified for appointment as Official Solicitor,

(b)shall have all the powers and duties of the Official Solicitor, and

(c)may be paid remuneration and allowances by the Lord Chancellor with the consent of the Treasury.

(5)In section 68 of the 1978 Act (Supreme Court: departments)—

(a)in subsection (2)(b) for “statutory officer” substitute “officer”, and

(b)for subsection (4) substitute—

(4)The officer supervising a department shall discharge his functions in accordance with directions given by the Lord Chancellor.

(6)In section 73 of the 1978 Act (restrictions on practice) subsection (2) (and the words “Subject to subsection (2),”) cease to have effect.

(7)In section 76 of the 1978 Act (property) paragraph (c) (which referred to the Official Solicitor and which ceased to have effect by virtue of the Supreme Court (Departments and Officers) (Northern Ireland) Order 1982 (S.R. 1982/ 300)) shall again have effect.

(8)Nothing in this section has any effect in relation to the person who on the commencement of this section holds the office in Northern Ireland of Official Solicitor to the Supreme Court.

104Alteration of place fixed for Crown Court trial: Northern Ireland

An application under section 48(3) of the 1978 Act (application for variation of place fixed for Crown Court trial) is no longer required to be heard in open court; and accordingly section 48(4) of the 1978 Act ceases to have effect.

105Extension of time for criminal appeals to House of Lords: Northern Ireland

(1)Amend paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the 1978 Act (applications for leave to appeal to House of Lords in certain criminal matters) as follows.

(2)In sub-paragraph (1)—

(a)for “fourteen” (in both places) substitute “28”, and

(b)for “date of the decision of that court” substitute “relevant date”.

(3)After sub-paragraph (1) insert—

(1A)In sub-paragraph (1), “the relevant date” means—

(a)the date of the decision of the court below, or

(b)if later, the date on which that court gives reasons for its decision.

(4)Amend section 32 of the Criminal Appeal (Northern Ireland) Act 1980 (c. 47) (applications for leave to appeal to the House of Lords) as follows.

(5)In subsection (1)—

(a)for “fourteen” (in both places) substitute “28”, and

(b)for “date of the decision of the Court” substitute “relevant date”.

(6)After subsection (1) insert—

(1A)In subsection (1), “the relevant date” means—

(a)the date of the Court of Appeal’s decision, or

(b)if later, the date on which the Court gives reasons for its decision.

106Fees: Northern Ireland

In section 116 of the 1978 Act (fees) after subsection (1) insert—

(1A)Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), an order under that subsection may make provision for exemptions from fees and remission of fees (in whole or in part).

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