Headlines: October 21st, 1998

The Lord Chancellor’s Department is urging all magistrates’ courts to make use of a model charter for use as a basis for improving public service.Geoff Hoon MP, Minister of State at the Lord Chancellor’s Department, says magistrates should not forget that courts are a public service.

All magistrates courts committees have been asked to revise their local charters in line with the new model by April 1 next year.

The new guidance covers key service standards on waiting areas, waiting times, and meets the needs of disabled court users.

“The crucial elements of this initiative,” Mr Hoon said, “are establishing the needs of court users, publishing standards for service delivery in a charter, telling users how they can complain if things go wrong and informing users how the service has performed in meeting its published standards”

Magistrates courts committees will report on the achievement of their charter standards annually.

The model charter is on the Lord Chancellor’s Department website at www.open.gov.uk/lcd