Access to Justice Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords
PART I, THE LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION - continued

back to previous text
 
 
The Criminal Defence Service
The Criminal Defence Service.     13. - (1) The Commission shall establish, maintain and develop a service known as the Criminal Defence Service for the purpose of securing that individuals involved in criminal investigations or criminal proceedings have access to such advice, assistance and representation as the interests of justice require.
 
      (2) In subsection (1) "criminal investigations" includes (as well as investigations relating to an offence) such other investigations relating to an individual who has been convicted of an offence as may be prescribed.
 
      (3) In this Part "criminal proceedings" means-
 
 
    (a) proceedings before any court for dealing with an individual accused of an offence,
 
    (b) proceedings before any court for dealing with an individual convicted of an offence, for dealing with an individual in respect of a sentence or for dealing with an individual under section 9 of, or paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 to, the Extradition Act 1989,
 
    (c) proceedings for binding an individual over to keep the peace or to be of good behaviour under section 115 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 and for dealing with an individual who fails to comply with an order under that section,
 
    (d) proceedings on an appeal brought by an individual under section 44A of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968,
 
    (e) proceedings for the variation and discharge of a supervision order in respect of an individual under section 15 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 and for appeals in such proceedings under section 16(8) of that Act,
 
    (f) proceedings for contempt committed, or alleged to have been committed, by an individual in the face of a court, and
 
    (g) such other proceedings concerning an individual, before any such court or other body, as may be prescribed.
      (4) Sections 14 and 15 specify the services which the Commission must fund as part of the Criminal Defence Service and make provision about the ways in which they may fund them.
 
      (5) The Commission may accredit, or authorise others to accredit, persons or bodies providing services which may be funded by the Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service; and any system of accreditation shall include provision for the monitoring of the services provided by accredited persons and bodies and for the withdrawal of accreditation from any providing services of unsatisfactory quality.
 
      (6) The Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to discharge the functions in subsection (5) in accordance with the order.
 
Advice and assistance.     14. - (1) The Commission shall fund such advice and assistance as it considers appropriate-
 
 
    (a) for individuals who are arrested and held in custody at a police station or other premises, and
 
    (b) for individuals in such other circumstances as the Lord Chancellor may prescribe.
      (2) The Commission may comply with the duty imposed by subsection (1) by-
 
 
    (a) entering into contracts with persons or bodies for the provision of advice or assistance by them,
 
    (b) making payments to persons or bodies in respect of the provision of advice or assistance by them,
 
    (c) making grants or loans to persons or bodies to enable them to provide, or facilitate the provision of, advice or assistance,
 
    (d) establishing and maintaining bodies to provide, or facilitate the provision of, advice or assistance,
 
    (e) making grants to individuals to enable them to obtain advice or assistance, or
 
    (f) doing anything else which it considers appropriate for funding advice and assistance, except itself providing advice or assistance.
      (3) The Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to discharge the function in subsection (2) in accordance with the order.
 
      (4) The Commission may fund advice and assistance by different means-
 
 
    (a) in different areas in England and Wales, and
 
    (b) in relation to different descriptions of cases.
Representation.     15. - (1) Schedule 3 (which makes provision about the grant of a right to representation in criminal proceedings) has effect; and the Commission shall fund representation to which an individual has been granted a right in accordance with that Schedule.
 
      (2) Subject to the following provisions, the Commission may comply with the duty imposed by subsection (1) by-
 
 
    (a) entering into contracts with persons or bodies for the provision of representation by them,
 
    (b) making payments to persons or bodies in respect of the provision of representation by them,
 
    (c) making grants or loans to persons or bodies to enable them to provide, or facilitate the provision of, representation,
 
    (d) establishing and maintaining bodies to provide, or facilitate the provision of, representation,
 
    (e) making grants to individuals to enable them to obtain representation, or
 
    (f) doing anything else which it considers appropriate for funding representation, except itself providing representation.
      (3) The Lord Chancellor-
 
 
    (a) shall by order make provision about the payments which may be made by the Commission in respect of any representation provided by non-contracted private practitioners, and
 
    (b) may by order make any other provision requiring the Commission to discharge the function in subsection (2) in accordance with the order.
      (4) For the purposes of subsection (3)(a) representation is provided by a non-contracted private practitioner if it is provided, otherwise than pursuant to a contract entered into by the Commission, by a person or body which is neither-
 
 
    (a) a person or body in receipt of grants or loans made by the Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service, nor
 
    (b) the Commission itself or a body established or maintained by the Commission.
      (5) The provision which the Lord Chancellor is required to make by order under subsection (3)(a) includes provision for reviews of, or appeals against, determinations required for the purposes of the order.
 
      (6) The Commission may fund representation by different means-
 
 
    (a) in different areas in England and Wales, and
 
    (b) in relation to different descriptions of cases.
      (7) An individual who has been granted a right to representation in accordance with Schedule 3 may select any representative or representatives willing to act for him; and, where he does so, the Commission is to comply with the duty imposed by subsection (1) by funding representation by the selected representative or representatives.
 
      (8) Regulations may provide that in prescribed circumstances-
 
 
    (a) the right conferred by subsection (7) is not to apply in cases of prescribed descriptions,
 
    (b) that right is not to include a right to select a representative of a prescribed description,
 
    (c) that right is to select only a representative of a prescribed description,
 
    (d) that right is to select not more than a prescribed number of representatives to act for him at any one time, and
 
    (e) that right is not to include a right for an individual to select a representative in place of a representative previously selected by him.
      (9) Regulations under subsection (8) may not provide that an individual may select only a person employed by the Commission.
 
Code of conduct.     16. - (1) The Commission shall prepare a code of conduct to be observed by employees of the Commission in the provision of services as part of the Criminal Defence Service.
 
      (2) The code shall include-
 
 
    (a) duties to avoid discrimination,
 
    (b) duties to protect the interests of the individuals for whom services are provided,
 
    (c) duties to the court,
 
    (d) duties to avoid conflicts of interest, and
 
    (e) duties of confidentiality.
      (3) The Commission may from time to time prepare a revised version of the code.
 
      (4) Before preparing or revising the code the Commission shall undertake such consultation as appears to it to be appropriate.
 
      (5) After preparing the code or a revised version of the code the Commission shall send a copy to the Lord Chancellor.
 
      (6) If he approves it he shall lay it before each House of Parliament.
 
      (7) The Commission shall publish-
 
 
    (a) the code as first approved by the Lord Chancellor, and
 
    (b) where he approves a revised version, either the revisions or the revised code as appropriate.
      (8) The code, and any revised version of the code, shall not come into force until it has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
 
Terms of provision of funded services.     17. - (1) An individual for whom services are funded by the Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service shall not be required to make any payment in respect of the services except where subsection (2) applies.
 
      (2) Where representation for an individual in respect of criminal proceedings in the Crown Court is funded by the Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service, the trial judge may, subject to regulations under subsection (3), make an order requiring him to pay some or all of the cost of the representation.
 
      (3) Regulations may make provision about-
 
 
    (a) the descriptions of individuals against whom an order under subsection (2) may be made,
 
    (b) the circumstances in which such an order may be made and the principles to be applied in deciding whether to make such an order and the amount to be paid,
 
    (c) the determination of the cost of representation for the purposes of the making of such an order,
 
    (d) the furnishing either to the trial judge or (if the trial judge so wishes) to the Commission of information required to enable the trial judge to decide whether to make such an order and (if so) the amount to be paid,
 
    (e) the person or body to which, and manner in which, payments required by such an order must be made and what that person or body is to do with them, and
 
    (f) the enforcement of such an order (including provision for the imposition of charges in respect of unpaid amounts).
Funding.     18. - (1) The Lord Chancellor shall pay to the Commission such sums as are required to meet the costs of any advice, assistance and representation funded by the Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service.
 
      (2) The Lord Chancellor may-
 
 
    (a) determine the manner in which and times at which the sums referred to in subsection (1) shall be paid to the Commission, and
 
    (b) impose conditions on the payment of the sums.
      (3) In funding services as part of the Criminal Defence Service the Commission shall aim to obtain the best possible value for money.
 
 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 17 February 1999