Parliament shut for summer recess in July 1998. The result of the consultation on abolition did not make its appearance. I and the ASN chased the civil servants responsible, but simply got the bland ‘the Government is considering its advice and will decide in good time’ type of letter one gets when the Government has decided not to make up its mind. We began to get nervous. Finally, I heard from a key civil servant that two decisions had been made: (a) the Government would not be announcing the result of its consultation on
abolition; (b) the Government would, as, when and if it made a decision on abolition, be
making one only in principle. The matter was too small to be a priority and would not figure in the Bill to reform the legal professions, which would be known as the Access to Justice Bill.