Court of Appeal hit by redundancies

The Court of Appeal saw an increase in its workload last year, but will still be forced to make redundancies due to financial restraints, it has been revealed.

The court’s 44-page annual report shows that 1,200 appeals were set down for the year ending September 2006 – a 1 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

Filed applications for permission to appeal shot up by 5 per cent to 2,548, while 48 per cent of the appeal applications were disposed of following oral representations to the court – an increase of 6 per cent.

The court’s 16 divisions saw work hikes across five sectors, including the immigration appeal tribunal, which saw a thirteenfold increase on the previous year.

In the coming year the court is expecting the number of appeals and applications to remain around the 4,500 mark. However, as revealed on (24 January), the workload on staff will increase as the civil appeals office has to lose three staff members to keep within its financial budget, which was slashed by 6 per cent last year.

The head of the civil appeals office and master David Gladwell said the redundancies follows the annulment of six posts in the past two years.

“With a total number of permanent staff of around 70, such reductions have an impact, whether on our standards of service or on those who have to absorb the additional work,” said Gladwell.

Master of the Rolls Sir Anthony Clarke said the Court of Appeal is in a “buoyant and positive position”, despite the need to tighten belts.

“The coming year will bring new challenges as the office grapples with the increasing financial pressures that have been felt throughout the whole of Her Majesty’s Courts Service,” said Clarke. “I have no doubt these challenges will be met with the characteristic positive approach we have come to expect from both judges and our staff alike.”