Members argued that the Government’s reforms have been “too rushed, the consultation process has been too short and the legislative timetable too restrictive”. The MPs said more time was needed to enable proper scrutiny of the “complex, fundamental changes” and concluded that they were rushed through on grounds of political expediency.
They argued that the proposed changes could have been brought in incrementally and that the abolition of the Office of Lord Chancellor should be delayed until the reforms were established. They also said that Parliament should be able to scrutinise the proposals in the form of draft legislation.
Finding suitable accommodation for the new Supreme Court is proving to be a major problem, the MPs said. As a result, they concluded that the timing of the introduction of the new court should be adjusted to ensure it could commence its work in an appropriate location. Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor, told the House of Lords yesterday that he had conducted an “an extensive property search” for the new court. But, he added,it might, on occasion, be appropriate to hear cases in other parts of the country, such as devolution matters. His pledge came in a statement unveiling further details of the reforms announced last summer as part of the Cabinet reshuffle, and said the Government would bring forward the Supreme Court legislation.