Access to Justice Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords

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  PART V
  MAGISTRATES AND MAGISTRATES' COURTS
 
Territorial organisation
Commission areas.     48. - (1) For sections 1 and 2 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (commission areas outside London and London commission areas) substitute-
 
 
"Commission areas.     1. - (1) England and Wales shall be divided into areas for each of which there shall be a commission of the peace.
 
    (2) The areas shall be as specified by the Lord Chancellor by order made by statutory instrument.
 
      (3) An area for which there is a commission of the peace shall be known as a commission area."
 
      (2) In that Act, after section 32 insert-
 
 
"Alteration of commission areas.     32A. - (1) A magistrates' courts committee may at any time submit to the Lord Chancellor written proposals for an alteration of any commission area which includes the whole or any part of their area.
 
    (2) Before submitting such proposals the magistrates' courts committee shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the magistrates for their area or that of any affected magistrates' courts committee; and
 
    (b) any affected magistrates' courts committee.
      (3) Before making an order under section 1(2) above which makes an alteration of a commission area, other than an order which implements proposals submitted to him under subsection (1) above, the Lord Chancellor shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the magistrates for the area of any affected magistrates' courts committee; and
 
    (b) any affected magistrates' courts committee.
      (4) For the purposes of subsection (3) above an order shall be taken to implement proposals if it implements them without changes or any departures from the proposals do not, in the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, effect important changes in the proposals.
 
      (5) An order under section 1(2) above which makes an alteration of a commission area may contain such consequential and transitional provisions as appear to the Lord Chancellor to be necessary or expedient.
 
      (6) A statutory instrument containing an order under section 1(2) above which makes an alteration of a commission area shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
 
      (7) In this section references to the alteration of a commission area include (as well as a change in the boundaries of the area)-
 
 
    (a) the combination of the area with another commission area; and
 
    (b) the division of the area between two or more commission areas.
      (8) For the purposes of this section a magistrates' courts committee is affected by proposals or a proposed order if the alteration proposed would affect any commission area which includes the whole or any part of their area."
 
Petty sessions areas.     49. - (1) For section 4 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (petty sessions areas and petty sessional divisions) substitute-
 
 
"Petty sessions areas.     4. - (1) England and Wales shall also be divided into areas known as petty sessions areas.
 
    (2) The areas and their names shall be as specified by the Lord Chancellor by order made by statutory instrument.
 
      (3) Each petty sessions area shall consist of either-
 
 
    (a) the whole of a commission area; or
 
    (b) an area wholly included within a commission area."
      (2) For section 33 of that Act (functions of magistrates' courts committee as to petty sessional divisions and related procedure) substitute-
 
 
"Alteration of petty sessions areas.     33. - (1) A magistrates' courts committee may at any time submit to the Lord Chancellor a draft order which makes an alteration of a petty sessions area for which they are the committee.
 
    (2) A magistrates' courts committee shall, if directed to do so by the Lord Chancellor, consider whether any alteration is required to any petty sessions area for which they are the committee and, on completion of its consideration, shall submit to the Lord Chancellor either-
 
 
    (a) a draft order under subsection (1) above; or
 
    (b) a report giving reasons for no alteration.
      (3) The Lord Chancellor may only make an order under section 4(2) above which makes an alteration of a petty sessions area where-
 
 
    (a) the magistrates' courts committee for the area have submitted a draft order to him under subsection (1) above and the alteration made by the order is in the terms of the draft or subject only to such modifications as the Lord Chancellor thinks fit;
 
    (b) a magistrates' courts committee fail to comply within six months with a direction of the Lord Chancellor under subsection (2) above or he is dissatisfied with the draft order or report submitted in pursuance of such a direction; or
 
    (c) the alteration is consequential on an order under section 1(2) or 27A(2) above.
      (4) An order under section 4(2) above which makes an alteration of a petty sessions area may contain such consequential and transitional provisions as appear to the Lord Chancellor to be necessary or expedient.
 
      (5) In this section and section 34 below references to the alteration of a petty sessions area include (as well as a change in the boundaries of the area)-
 
 
    (a) the combination of the area with another petty sessions area;
 
    (b) the division of the area between two or more petty sessions areas; and
 
    (c) changing the name of the area."
      (3) In section 34 of that Act (procedure relating to alteration of petty sessions areas)-
 
 
    (a) in subsection (1) (consultation), after "any" insert "petty sessions",
 
    (b) in subsection (3) (copies of proposals), for "section 33 above about any area" substitute "section 4(2) above which makes an alteration of a petty sessions area", and
 
    (c) in subsection (4) (objections and inquiry), for "section 33 above" substitute "section 4(2) above which makes an alteration of a petty sessions area,".
Consequential provision.     50. - (1) The Lord Mayor and aldermen of the City of London shall not be justices of the peace unless appointed by the Lord Chancellor in accordance with the Justices of the Peace Act 1997.
 
      (2) Schedule 7 (which contains other provisions consequential on sections 48 and 49) has effect.
 
 
Justices
Unification and renaming of stipendiary bench.     51. - (1) For sections 11 to 20 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 and the heading preceding section 11 (stipendiary magistrates and metropolitan stipendiary magistrates) substitute-
 
 

"District Judges (Magistrates' Courts)
Appointment and tenure.     10A. - (1) Her Majesty may, on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor, appoint a person who has a 7 year general qualification (within the meaning of section 71 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990) to be a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts).
 
      (2) The Lord Chancellor-
 
 
    (a) shall designate one of the District Judges (Magistrates' Courts) to be the Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate); and
 
    (b) may designate another of them to be his deputy.
      (3) A District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) may not be removed from office except by the Lord Chancellor on the ground of incapacity or misbehaviour.
 
      (4) The Lord Chancellor may pay to a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) (in addition to the salary charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund under section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1973) such allowances as he may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine.
 
Deputies.     10B. - (1) The Lord Chancellor may appoint any person who has a 7 year general qualification (within the meaning of section 71 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990) to be a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) for such period as the Lord Chancellor considers appropriate (but subject to subsection (2) below).
 
      (2) The Lord Chancellor may remove a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) from office on the ground of incapacity or misbehaviour.
 
      (3) The Lord Chancellor may pay to a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) such remuneration and allowances as he may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine.
 
      (4) During the period of his appointment a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) shall act as a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) and shall be treated for all purposes (apart from appointment, tenure, remuneration and allowances and pensions) as if he were a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts).
 
Status.     10C. - (1) A District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) shall by virtue of his office be a justice of the peace for every commission area.
 
      (2) Where any enactment makes provision defining the powers of any person or court by reference to the area for which a person is a justice of the peace, the provision shall have effect where that person is a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) as if it defined the powers by reference to the area for which he is for the time being acting as a justice of the peace.
 
      (3) A District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) shall sit at such court-houses, on such days and at such times, as may be determined by, or in accordance with, directions given by the Lord Chancellor from time to time.
 
      (4) References in any enactment, instrument or other document to a district judge or deputy district judge do not include a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts).
 
Power to discharge functions exercisable by two justices.     10D. - (1) A District Judge (Magistrates' Courts), sitting in a place appointed for the purpose, shall have power-
 
 
    (a) to do any act; and
 
    (b) to exercise alone any jurisdiction,
  which can be done or exercised by two justices, including any act or jurisdiction expressly required to be done or exercised by justices sitting or acting in petty sessions.
 
      (2) Subsection (1) above does not apply where the law under which the act or jurisdiction can be done or exercised was made after 2nd August 1858 and contains express provision contrary to that subsection.
 
      (3) Any statutory provision auxiliary to the jurisdiction exercisable by two justices of the peace shall apply also to the jurisdiction of a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts).
 
      (4) Subsections (1) and (3) above do not apply where the act or jurisdiction relates to the grant or transfer of any licence.
 
      (5) Any authority or requirement in any enactment for persons to be summoned or to appear at petty sessions in any case shall include authority or a requirement in such a case for persons to be summoned or to appear before a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) at the place appointed for his sitting.
 
      (6) Nothing in this section applies to the hearing or determination of family proceedings within the meaning of section 65 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980.
 
Disapplication of restrictions.     10E. - (1) Nothing in the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980-
 
 
    (a) requiring a magistrates' court to be composed of two or more justices or to sit in a petty sessional court-house or an occasional court-house; or
 
    (b) limiting the powers of a magistrates' court when composed of a single justice or when sitting elsewhere than in a petty sessional court-house,
  shall apply to any District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) sitting in a place appointed for the purpose.
 
      (2) Subsection (1) above does not apply to the hearing or determination of family proceedings within the meaning of section 65 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980."
 
      (2) Schedule 8 (which makes amendments consequential on this section) has effect.
 
Justices not to sit on committal for sentence.     52. In section 74(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 (cases in which Crown Court is to consist of a judge sitting with justices of the peace), omit paragraph (b) (proceedings on committal for sentence).
 
Jurisdiction over offences outside area.     53. - (1) In the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, after section 3A insert-
 
 
"Transfer of trials of summary offences.     3B. - (1) Where a person is required to appear, or to be brought, before a magistrates' court on an information charging him with a summary offence, he or the prosecutor may apply to the court for the offence to be tried by a magistrates' court which is named in the application but which would not, apart from subsection (2) below, have jurisdiction to try the offence.
 
    (2) Where an application under this section is granted, the court named in it shall have jurisdiction to try the offence.
 
      (3) The Lord Chancellor may make regulations specifying-
 
 
    (a) matters which a court must consider in deciding whether to grant or refuse an application under this section; and
 
    (b) circumstances in which a court must grant or refuse such an application.
      (4) The power to make regulations under subsection (3) above shall be exercisable by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment by resolution of either House of Parliament."
 
      (2) In section 145(1) of that Act (power to make rules of court as to specified matters), after paragraph (a) insert-
 
 
    "(aa) as to the determination of applications under section 3B above (including provision for their determination by justices' clerks);".
 
Magistrates' courts committees
Areas outside Greater London.     54. For section 27 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (general provisions about magistrates' courts committees) substitute-
 
 

"Introductory
Introduction.     27. Magistrates' courts committees shall have-
 
 
    (a) such functions as are conferred or imposed on them by or under this Act or any other enactment; and
 
    (b) such other functions relating to matters of an administrative character as they may be authorised by the Lord Chancellor to undertake.
 
Magistrates' courts committees outside Greater London
Committees.     27A. - (1) England and Wales outside Greater London shall be divided into areas for each of which there shall be a magistrates' courts committee.
 
      (2) The areas of the committees shall be as specified by the Lord Chancellor by order made by statutory instrument.
 
      (3) Each area outside Greater London for which there is a magistrates' courts committee shall comprise the whole of one or more petty sessions areas.
 
Alteration of committee areas.     27B. - (1) A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London may at any time submit to the Lord Chancellor written proposals for the alteration of their area.
 
      (2) Before submitting such proposals, the magistrates' courts committee shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the magistrates for their area or any other magistrates' courts committee area to which the proposals relate;
 
    (b) any other magistrates' courts committee to which the proposals relate; and
 
    (c) every relevant authority whose area includes all or any part of any of the magistrates' courts committee areas to which the proposals relate.
      (3) The Lord Chancellor shall not make an order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area unless he is satisfied that the making of the order is likely to contribute to an overall increase in the efficiency of the administration of magistrates' courts.
 
      (4) Before making an order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area, other than an order which implements proposals submitted to him under subsection (1) above, the Lord Chancellor shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the magistrates for the area;
 
    (b) the magistrates' courts committees for the area; and
 
    (c) every relevant authority whose area includes all or any part of the magistrates' courts committee area.
      (5) For the purposes of subsection (4) above, an order shall be taken to implement proposals if it implements them without changes or any departures from the proposals do not, in the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, effect important changes in the proposals.
 
      (6) An order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area may contain such consequential and transitional provisions as appear to the Lord Chancellor to be necessary or expedient, including-
 
 
    (a) provision for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities;
 
    (b) provision for the management or custody of transferred property (whether real or personal); and
 
    (c) provision for any magistrates' courts committee coming into existence by virtue of the order to be constituted under section 30 below as a body corporate, and to incur liabilities, before the date on which the functions of any magistrates' courts committee are transferred to it.
      (7) The Lord Chancellor may give directions with respect to convening the first meeting of a magistrates' courts committee coming into existence by virtue of an order under section 27A(2) above.
 
      (8) A statutory instrument containing an order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
 
      (9) In this section references to the alteration of a magistrates' courts committee area include (as well as a change in the boundaries of the area)-
 
 
    (a) the combination of the area with another magistrates' courts committee area; and
 
    (b) the division of the area between two or more magistrates' courts committee areas.
      (10) In this section "relevant authority" means-
 
 
    (a) a county council;
 
    (b) a county borough council; or
 
    (c) the council of a unitary district."
Constitution of committees outside Greater London.     55. For sections 28 to 30 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (constitution of magistrates' courts committees) substitute-
 
"Constitution of committees.     28. - (1) A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall, subject to subsection (2) below, be composed of justices of the peace for the area to which the committee relates, chosen in accordance with regulations under section 29 below.
 
      (2) Such a magistrates' courts committee may also include persons (who need not be justices of the peace)-
 
 
    (a) co-opted by the committee with the approval of the Lord Chancellor; or
 
    (b) appointed by the Lord Chancellor.
Regulations about committees.     29. - (1) The Lord Chancellor may by statutory instrument make general regulations about the constitution, procedure and quorum of magistrates' courts committees for areas outside Greater London; but any such regulations shall have effect subject to the provisions of section 28 above.
 
      (2) The regulations shall provide for the members referred to in section 28(1) above to be chosen by a selection panel constituted in accordance with the regulations.
 
      (3) The regulations may-
 
 
    (a) lay down an upper limit for the number of members of a magistrates' courts committee (inclusive of the members referred to in subsection (2) of section 28 above); and
 
    (b) enable the Lord Chancellor to direct that, in relation to any magistrates' courts committee to which the direction is given, any members co-opted or appointed under that subsection are to be left out of account in applying the upper limit.
      (4) The regulations may make provision for the payment of remuneration to members of a magistrates' courts committee co-opted or appointed under section 28(2) above.
 
      (5) The regulations may make different provision in relation to magistrates' courts committees for different areas.
 
      (6) The regulations may also make provision with respect to the persons (other than the members, clerks and officers of the committee) who may be entitled to attend the meetings of a magistrates' courts committee and the rights of such persons to make representations to the committee.
 
      (7) A statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provisions) regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
 
Supplementary provisions about committees.     30. - (1) A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall appoint one of their members to be chairman of the committee.
 
      (2) Where the magistrates for a petty sessions area are required to meet for the purpose of carrying out any functions under section 29 above, a meeting shall be convened by the magistrates' courts committee or, if there is no such committee or the Lord Chancellor considers it appropriate, by the Lord Chancellor.
 
      (3) A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London may act through sub-committees appointed by them which, if they include at least one member of the committee, may also include persons who are not members.
 
      (4) Such a magistrates' courts committee may also arrange for the discharge of any of their functions-
 
 
    (a) by the chairman of the committee; or
 
    (b) by the justices' chief executive.
      (5) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall have power to regulate their own procedure, including quorum.
 
      (6) The proceedings of such a magistrates' courts committee shall not be invalidated by reason of any vacancy among the members or of any defect in the appointment of a member.
 
      (7) A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall be a body corporate.
 
      (8) A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall, on at least one occasion in every calendar year, admit members of the public to a meeting of the committee.
 
      (9) The minutes of proceedings of every meeting of such a magistrates' courts committee shall be open to inspection by members of the public at the offices of the committee, except to the extent that the committee determine that the minutes disclose information of a confidential nature.
 
 
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