The setting up of new-style magistrates committees has been delayed for six months after complaints that the time-table for change is too hurried.
The Lord Chancellor's Department, claiming its byword “is consensus not coercion”, has bowed to pressure from the Central Council of Magistrates' Courts Committees.
Parliamentary Secretary at the LCD, John Taylor MP, told the Nottinghamshire Magistrates' Association: “Both the Lord Chancellor and I are anxious to avoid the possibility that the new committees may enter this key transitional phase feeling rushed or ill-prepared.”
The central council says it is “very appreciative” of the Lord Chancellor's decision.
It had been proposed that the new committees, more accountable to the LCD, would come into being on 1 April. But Taylor confirms that the date has been put back.
He also reassured senior magistrates over concerns that they would be excluded from the new committees because of a rule which says only those serving a full three-year term will be eligible.