Liz Saville Roberts contributions to the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Act 2018

Tue 27th November 2018 Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [Lords] (Commons Chamber)
2nd reading: House of Commons
3 interactions (99 words)

Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [Lords]

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
Liz Saville Roberts Excerpts
Tuesday 27th November 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Mr Gauke Hansard
27 Nov 2018, 1:40 p.m.

Absolutely; that is a key point. Perhaps my hon. Friend has set my Department the challenge of ensuring that people associate the modernisation of technology with the court system. We will know that we have succeeded when he tells us that that is the case. He makes the strong point that this is ultimately about delivering justice. We need to have strong support for the process involved and ensure the satisfaction of those who need to resolve a dispute or to undertake a process. The early signs from our work with online divorce processes are encouraging, and the feedback has been very positive.

Liz Saville Roberts Portrait Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC) - Hansard
27 Nov 2018, 1:40 p.m.

I rise as the co-chair of the Justice Unions Parliamentary Group. I am interested in what the Secretary of State is saying about artificial intelligence, but it seems to me that one of the driving forces behind the Bill is not necessarily to improve the administration of justice but to cut costs by pushing workloads down the grades so that staff will be taking on additional work above their current grade without additional remuneration. Surely he should recognise that making savings in the application of justice comes at a cost to staff and to the public’s experience of justice.

Mr Gauke Hansard
27 Nov 2018, 1:40 p.m.

I do not think that the hon. Lady is correct in the association that she makes. The reality is that we have to ensure that our resources are deployed as efficiently as possible. That is to the benefit of the system as a whole. I will make the case in more detail as to why the steps taken in the Bill to give authorised staff greater responsibility to undertake some roles that they are currently unable to undertake will be to the benefit of the system as a whole. I make no apology for wanting to find efficiencies within the system, but this is in the context of a £1 billion court reform programme. Those efficiencies can improve the experience of the users of the system, and could also ensure that judges will be able to use their time in the areas that are most useful to them. Indeed, the experience of authorised Courts and Tribunals Service staff will be a more positive one, as they will be able to make a greater contribution to the efficient running of the court system.