Headlines: February 16th, 1999

The Government is asking for views over plans for a super courts committee for London.It is planning the merge the existing twenty two magistrates courts committees in the capital – which run the lowest tier courts – into one Greater London Magistrates’ Courts Authority (GLMCA) on 1st April 2001.

The aims of the merger are improved efficiency, fewer delays and improved co-ordination.

As well as having the same role and responsibilities of a magistrates courts committee in any other part of the country, the size of the GLMCA will attract additional powers and responsibilities to enable it to operate strategically and effectively.

The merger coincides with plans for a Greater London Authority directing local authority matters across the same territory, which presents the plan with one of its challenges – the timescale for the launch. The GLMCA will be up and running before the Greater London Authority can nominate representatives to be members of it.

Consultation is on on timing, size, who should sit on the body and how to get it up and running. For full details of the proposal see the consultation document on the Lord Chancellor’s Department website at www.open.gov.uk/lcd/consult/general/mags1.htm