Staff and resources
184.Sections 48 to 51 together make provision for the resourcing and funding arrangements for the Supreme Court. They establish the post of Chief Executive of the Supreme Court within a clear statutory framework, which places certain duties on the Chief Executive and the Lord Chancellor. The Chief Executive will be responsible for the non-judicial functions of the Court and anything delegated to him by the President under section 50 (in effect allowing the Chief Executive to be formally responsible for appointing staff to the Court). In doing so the Chief Executive will be answerable to the President, in accordance with whose directions he will be required to act in carrying out his functions (although not so as to override any other duty or restriction on his powers). The Chief Executive will be responsible for ensuring that the Court’s resources are used to provide an efficient and effective system to support the Court in carrying on its business. The Lord Chancellor has a corresponding duty under section 50 to provide accommodation for the Court and to provide other resources to allow the Chief Executive to carry out his responsibilities. The resourcing arrangements will operate as follows:
The administrative service for the Supreme Court will be headed by a Chief Executive, a civil servant appointed by a process involving an ad hoc commission.
The staff of the Court will be civil servants, accountable to the Chief Executive and not to the Lord Chancellor.
The Chief Executive will be principally answerable to, and operating under the day-to-day guidance of, the President of the Court.
The President of the Supreme Court and the Chief Executive will determine the bid for resources for the Court in line with Governmental spending review timescales.
The bid will be passed to the Lord Chancellor, who will include it as a separate line in the overall DCA bid submitted to the Treasury.
The Lord Chancellor will be responsible for directly dealing with the Treasury to secure resources for the Court during the Spending Review process.
The Treasury will scrutinise the overall DCA bid and approve the overall financial expenditure for the DCA group in the Spending Review period including the Supreme Court.
Following the settlement DCA will give a separate Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) to the UK Supreme Court.
The Chief Executive of the Supreme Court will submit an estimate to HM Treasury which will then be presented before the House of Commons as part of the overall estimates.
The House of Commons will approve the overall estimates and transfer resources accordingly.
Because the Supreme Court will have its own estimate, the funds approved will be transferred to the Court direct from the Consolidated Fund, not via the DCA.
The Chief Executive will be the Accounting Officer for the Supreme Court and so directly accountable to the Court and to Parliament, rather than being subject to the DCA Permanent Secretary as Principal Accounting Officer.
Section 48: Chief Executive
185.Subsection (1) establishes the office of Chief Executive, to be appointed under subsection (2) by the Lord Chancellor after consulting the President of the Court. In accordance with subsection (3) the Chief Executive will be responsible for all the non-judicial functions of the Court and any function of appointing officers and staff under section 49(1) that is delegated to him by the President of the Supreme Court. The President is expected to delegate all his functions under section 49(1), so this means that in effect the Chief Executive will appoint staff for the Supreme Court. Under subsection (4), the Chief Executive will carry out his functions in accordance with any directions given by the President.
Section 49: Officers and Staff
186.Subsection (1) makes provision for the President of the Supreme Court to have formal responsibility for appointing staff to the Supreme Court. This function may be delegated to the Chief Executive. Under subsection (2) the Chief Executive will be able to determine the staffing needs and arrangements in agreement with the Lord Chancellor and in accordance with the Court’s overall budget. Subsections (3) and (4) provide that, as both the staff of the Court and the Chief Executive will be civil servants, the civil service pension arrangements will apply accordingly.
Section 50: Accommodation and Other Resources
187.Under subsection (1) the Lord Chancellor is responsible for ensuring that the Supreme Court is provided with such accommodation as he thinks appropriate for the Court to carry on its business. The Lord Chancellor is also responsible for providing such other resources as he thinks appropriate for the Court to carry on its business. This complements section 48, which sets out the duties of the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive will not be able to carry out his duties if the Lord Chancellor does not provide appropriate resources.
188.Subsection (2) provides that the Lord Chancellor can discharge his general duty under subsection (1) by directly providing accommodation or other resources or by entering into arrangements with third parties for their provision; and subsection (3) makes available for this purpose certain powers to acquire land for public service.
189.This section additionally, under subsection (4), enables the Scottish Ministers to make a contribution towards the resource running costs of the Court. This contribution (which will be related to the proportion of the costs of civil business attributable to appeals from Scotland) will be made by a transfer of resources from an appropriate budget.
Section 51: System to support Court in carrying on business
190.Subsection (1) places the Chief Executive under the duty to ensure that the resources provided under the preceding section are used to provide an efficient and effective system to support the Court in carrying on its business. The Chief Executive is therefore responsible for the effective administration of the Court. Subsection (2) makes provision for the key responsibilities of the Chief Executive in undertaking his general duty under subsection (1).