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Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 35:

Page 7, line 6, at beginning insert ("The offender may request and the panel may allow").

The noble Viscount said: In moving Amendment No. 35, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 36 and 37. The purpose of Amendment No. 35 is to underline the authority of the panel. At present under Clause 7(3) the accompanying individual,

In the amendment it is suggested that that wording should be strengthened as follows:

    "The offender may request and the panel may allow",
thereby establishing without question the sanction of the panel to allow the witnesses. Amendment No. 37 is consequential upon that.

Turning to Amendment No. 36, I am aware of the remarks previously made about the White Paper, but perhaps I may refer the Committee to paragraph 9.37 on page 33:

    "There would be no legal representation at the youth panel stage";

    "Legal representation would put an obstacle in the way of the panel dealing directly with the defendant".
I suggest that it is very much in the spirit of the Bill that at this stage the offender has no legal representation in his dealings with the panel. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have already discussed the crucial role that can be played by a family member. That may be a parent, but not always. There may be family members who have a positive influence on the young offender but who are not parents or guardians in the way that we have discussed in the past. There may be other influential adults, such as teachers or social workers, who could usefully play a constructive part by attending. It is important that the young person should be able to nominate an adult of choice. We believe that Clause 7(3) gives the panel abundant authority to exclude those who would be unsuitable, perhaps because they are disruptive or have the wrong motivation. We believe that Clause 7(3) is sufficient.

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I cannot accept, nor advise your Lordships to accept, expressly forbidding an adult's attendance if that adult happens to be a legal representative. Some solicitors do have children. A chosen trusted adult, perhaps a neighbour or an uncle, someone who has known the child for a while, may well be legal representatives, as well. They are not to be there as legal representatives in the sense of counsel or solicitor, but they ought not to be excluded if they can be of benefit. I believe that the present drafting is about right. The panel has discretion to exclude because it has to agree to allow the adult's attendance and it would not be right, in these days of non-discrimination, to exclude solicitors and barristers from attending.

Viscount Brentford: I endorse what the Minister said concerning Amendment No. 36 because I have myself done what he describes. When I was a practising solicitor I went into a claims court as the next friend of my daughter. It could have been argued that I was the legal representative. Therefore I entirely endorse what the noble Lord said.

Viscount Bledisloe: Surely the Minister's answer is not right. A lawyer who is a parent or a friend is not on that occasion a legal representative. A person who is a legal representative is someone who is in trade as a lawyer and attends in that capacity. Surely it is desirable to express the view that legal representatives are not allowed. One would not thereby debar a lawyer or a solicitor who attends, unpaid, as a parent and not in a legal capacity. To say that a lawyer, who is a father, is there as a legal representative is surely entirely inaccurate.

Viscount Bridgeman: In view of what the Minister said, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment Nos. 36 and 37 not moved.]

Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 38:

Page 7, line 10, after ("attend") insert ("part or all of").

The noble Viscount said: In moving Amendment No. 38 I shall, with the leave of the Committee, speak also to Amendment No. 39. The purpose of these two amendments is to increase the effectiveness of the panel. Amendment No. 38 makes provision for the individual to attend for part only of the session. There will be occasions when attendance for the whole of the hearing could be embarrassing or inappropriate. The amendment gives the panel the power to have the accompanying individual attend for only the relevant part. Amendment No. 39 makes provision to allow the panel to withdraw for private consultation during the course of a hearing. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I take the noble Lord's point that a victim, in particular, might find it oppressive to have to attend the whole of the meeting, and it may be that it would not be of assistance if others had to be there throughout. We do not believe that this needs to be further spelt out. The panel has the discretion. It has a permissive power to allow attendance and that power

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can be exercised without requiring an individual--the victim or someone whose assistance is only required for part of the meeting--to be there throughout. I hope I can reassure the noble Viscount on that point.

As to the question of a private meeting, we do not believe that that is necessary. The referral order provisions are set out in some detail in Part I. The arrangements for the meetings of the panel for the young offender are clearly set out. The arrangements are defined by virtue of Clause 6(7). Meetings of the panel which require the young offender to be there are clearly expressed. Meetings of the panel which do not require the offender's presence are quite different and fall outside Clause 6(7). We do not see any reason why the panel should not meet in private on those occasions, but I can confirm that these issues are intended to be covered by guidance and I do not believe it is necessary to put in statute the fact that a panel might want to withdraw to discuss matters in private. I believe that ought to give reasonable satisfaction on both counts.

Viscount Bledisloe: Is it intended that the panel should be entitled to tell everyone to withdraw except, let us say, the victim or the parent and to talk to them on their own in the absence of the offender and of everyone else?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In theory, I do not see why that should not happen. I do not see any qualitative difference between representations made in writing, perhaps by a victim, and representations made at second hand on behalf of a victim. I will give some further thought to that question. My instinctive reaction--it may be wrong--is that I do not see why material of that kind should not be obtained in the absence of the offender as long as the offender's interests are properly safeguarded by due consultation with him. Many victims would perhaps find it difficult to speak freely in the presence of the offender. I think this requires a little refinement and thought. I will think about the matter, take further guidance and write to the noble Viscount about it.

Viscount Bridgeman: I am grateful to the Minister for his assurances and consideration of this point and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 39 not moved.]

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 [First meeting: agreement of contract with offender]:

Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 40;

Page 7, line 21, after ("programme") insert ("shall include an obligation to make an act or acts in reparation for the offence or offences, and").

The noble Viscount said: Perhaps I may refer your Lordships once again to the White Paper. Clause 9.29 on page 32 states:

    "The contract would always include an obligation to make reparation".

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We consider this essential to the panel process. This gives prominence to that condition in Clause 8. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I do not believe that again there is any real difference in approach between the noble Viscount and myself. He wants to ensure that an element of reparation is included in every programme, and I share that view. It was always our intention that reparation in the widest sense should be a key element of every contract. Unfortunately, reparation carries with it connotations that are narrower than the range of activity we envisage. We do not want panels to believe that they must make arrangements for the young person in question to make financial amends directly to the victim. Many victims would find that abhorrent. That is one way of making reparation but it is not the only one. It will not even be an option if the victim is unwilling.

Another problem is that Section 85(1) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 contains a statutory definition of "reparation" that expressly excludes financial compensation. There would be a good deal of scope for confusion if one had a free-standing definition for the purposes of this Bill. I believe that the provision for reparation is sufficiently made. After all, Clause 8(2)(a) on page 7 puts right at the forefront of the provision,

    "financial or other reparation to any person who appears to the panel to be a victim of, or otherwise affected by, the offence".
It seems to me that the prominence given to this matter in that provision will require every relevant panel to focus first on financial or other reparation. One must bear in mind that some victims are extremely reluctant to engage in these matters. One must pay regard to decent susceptibilities. If it is right at the forefront the panel must have at the top of the list of considerations what is first in the Act.

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