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In November 2005 the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) published a consultation document Authorisations to sit in Family Proceedings Courts and Youth Courts (CP 27/05) seeking views on proposals to change the process by which magistrates are authorised to sit and preside in family proceedings courts and youth courts following the introduction of the Courts Act 2003. It also sought views on how the benefits of the panel approach could be identified and retained and invited discussion as to who should be responsible for hearing appeals against Bench Training and Development Committee Decisions (BTDC). A summary of those responses was published on 18 September 2006. It includes a number of composite responses where benches, panels and magistrates have combined to provide a common response on behalf of a group of magistrates. Policies are currently being developed and will be published at the end of October 2006. The consultation paper and the responses can be viewed on the DCA website at www.dca.gov.uk, see consultations. On 15 September the DCA also published its summary of responses to the consultation paper Focusing judicial resources appropriately: The Right Judge for the Right Case (CP 25/05). That consultation paper set out proposals designed to ensure the appropriate use of judicial resources, particularly at High Court level. It was concerned with the size, nature and relative position within the wider justice system of the judges of the High Court. There were 161 responses to the consultation paper. Policies are currently being developed and will be announced by the end of 2006. The responses and the consultation paper can also be viewed on th DCA website.
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