Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Ackner: My Lords, I am most grateful to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor for setting out the reason why the generosity which so affected me and my recollection could not be repeated. Perhaps he can tell me this: do the other courts that all have pension facilities have facilities of the same value as are achieved in this country? If they are not of the same value and are less, or significantly less, they may as a result of this clause put off the judge most appropriate to be seconded because of the effect on his pension. Can my noble and learned friend help me in that regard? I would have thought it surprising if these international courts all had pension facilities which would equal or surpass that which is available in this country. I say that without prejudice to my view that the pension provisions

14 Jul 1999 : Column 471

in this country are grossly inadequate compared to what is payable in Australia, in Canada, in New Zealand and obviously in America.

The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, I thought at first that the noble and learned Lord was comparing British judicial pensions favourably with those on the continent of Europe when he was fearing the possibility that pensions there might be less. But he quickly corrected himself and said that all of this was without prejudice to his general position that judicial pensions are inadequate in this country--although basically they provide that after 20 years service the judge will retire on half pension, index linked and with a fairly massive tax-free capital sum as well.

Of course I cannot tell the noble and learned Lord that I know the detail of every possible pension scheme that may arise in these international European courts in the future. But the remuneration packages are very generous and I would be surprised if the pension benefits were not equally generous. But if any problem of this kind arises in the future, we will address it in the circumstances of the time.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

92

After Clause 47, insert the following new clause--

POWER OF HIGH COURT TO VARY COMMITTAL IN DEFAULT

(". In the Supreme Court Act 1981, after section 43 insert--
"Power of High Court to vary committal in default.
43ZA.--(1) Where the High Court quashes the committal of a person to prison or detention by a magistrates' court or the Crown Court for--
(a) a default in paying a sum adjudged to be paid by a conviction; or
(b) want of sufficient distress to satisfy such a sum,
the High Court may deal with the person for the default or want of sufficient distress in any way in which the magistrates' court or Crown Court would have power to deal with him if it were dealing with him at the time when the committal is quashed.
(2) If the High Court commits him to prison or detention, the period of imprisonment or detention shall, unless the High Court otherwise directs, be treated as having begun when the person was committed by the magistrates' court or the Crown Court (except that any time during which he was released on bail shall not be counted as part of the period)."").

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 92. I shall speak also to Amendment No. 93.

Amendment No. 92 adds a new clause to amend the Supreme Court Act 1981 to enable the High Court to set an appropriate penalty where a magistrates' court or the Crown Court has unlawfully passed a sentence of imprisonment or detention on a fine defaulter. The amendment is required because of a loophole in Section 43 of the Supreme Court Act 1981, which came to light in a recent judgment by Lord Justice Brooke and Mr Justice Sedley in the case of Regina v St Helen's

14 Jul 1999 : Column 472

Justices ex parte Marlene Ann Jones and others. The effect of the amendment is that the High Court could quash an incorrect committal and reconsider the case in the light of the present circumstances of the wrongfully committed offender.

Amendment No. 93 moves Clause 51 in order to group together clauses related to the High Court in a more logical structure. I commend the amendment to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 92.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

93

Clause 51, transpose Clause 51 to after Clause 47

11.30 p.m.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 93. I have just spoken to this amendment. I commend it to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 93.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

94

After Clause 51, insert the following new clause--

TIME LIMITS WHERE ACCUSED SENT FOR TRIAL

(".--(1) In paragraph 1 of Schedule 3 to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (regulations about service of evidence where a person is sent without committal proceedings to Crown Court)--
(a) in sub-paragraph (1) (regulations to provide that evidence be served on or before the relevant date) omit the words "on or before the relevant date" and after paragraph (b) insert "before the expiry of the period prescribed by the regulations; but the judge may at his discretion extend or further extend that period.", and
(b) for sub-paragraph (2) substitute--
"(2) The regulations may make provision as to the procedure to be followed on an application for the extension or further extension of a period under sub-paragraph (1) above."
(2) In section 13(1) of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (transitional time limits relating to service of unused material), after paragraph (c) insert--
"(ca) copies of the documents containing the evidence on which the charge or charges are based are served on the accused (where this Part applies by virtue of section 1(2)(cc)),".
(3) In section 22 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (time limits in preliminary stages of criminal proceedings), in paragraph (a) of the definition of "appropriate court" in subsection (11) (which has effect so as to allow the Crown Court to extend time limits where the accused is committed for trial or indicted), after "trial" insert ", sent for trial under section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998".")

Lord Falconer of Thoroton : My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 94. With the leave of the House, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 127, 130, 219 and 220.

14 Jul 1999 : Column 473

Schedule 3 to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 provides for regulations about the service of evidence where a person is sent without committal proceedings to the Crown Court under Section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The intention is to set a fixed timetable for the service of the evidence so as to speed up the progress of these cases.

The existing formulation has led to difficulties since the regulations can only set a single period within which, in all cases, the evidence must be served. But plainly some cases are more complex than others and require more preparation time. The result has been that the regulations made for the current pilots have prescribed a date one year after the case is sent to the Crown Court, in order to ensure that the requirement can be satisfied even in the more complex cases. That length of time is not necessary in the vast majority of cases. The new clause inserted by Amendment No. 94 therefore amends Schedule 3 by allowing the judge to have discretion.

Amendments Nos. 219 and 220 make related repeals, and Amendments Nos. 127 and 130 provide for the commencement of this and other provisions. I commend the amendments to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 94.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

95

After Clause 51, insert the following new clause--

JUDGES HOLDING OFFICE IN EUROPEAN OR INTERNATIONAL COURTS

(".--(1) A holder of a United Kingdom judicial office may hold office in a relevant international court without being required to relinquish the United Kingdom judicial office.
(2) In this section--
"United Kingdom judicial office" means the office of--
(a) Lord Justice of Appeal, Justice of the High Court or Circuit judge, in England and Wales,
(b) judge of the Court of Session or sheriff, in Scotland, or
(c) Lord Justice of Appeal, judge of the High Court or county court judge, in Northern Ireland, and
"relevant international court" means--
(a) any court established for any purposes of the European Communities, or
(b) any international court (apart from the European Court of Human Rights) which is designated for the purposes of this section by the Lord Chancellor or the Secretary of State.
(3) A holder of a United Kingdom judicial office who also holds office in a relevant international court is not required to perform any duties as the holder of the United Kingdom judicial office but does not count as holding the United Kingdom judicial office--
(a) for the purposes of section 12(1) to (6) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, section 9(1)(c) or (d) of the Administration of Justice Act 1973, section 18 of the Courts Act 1971, section 14 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1907 or section 106 of the County Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1959 (judicial salaries),

14 Jul 1999 : Column 474


(b) for the purposes of, or of any scheme established by and in accordance with, the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993, the Judicial Pensions Act 1981, the Sheriffs' Pensions (Scotland) Act 1961 or the County Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1959 (judicial pensions), or
(c) for the purposes of section 2(1) or 4(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, section 1(1) of the Court of Session Act 1988 or section 2(1) or 3(1) of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (judicial numbers).
(4) If the sheriff principal of any sheriffdom also holds office in a relevant international court, section 11(1) of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 (temporary appointment of sheriff principal) applies as if the office of sheriff principal of that sheriffdom were vacant.
(5) The appropriate Minister may by order made by statutory instrument make in relation to a holder of a United Kingdom judicial office who has ceased to hold office in a relevant international court such transitional provision (including, in particular, provision for a temporary increase in the maximum number of judges) as he considers appropriate.
(6) In subsection (5) "appropriate Minister" means--
(a) in relation to any United Kingdom judicial office specified in paragraph (a) or (c) of the definition in subsection (2), the Lord Chancellor, and
(b) in relation to any United Kingdom judicial office specified in paragraph (b) of that definition, the Secretary of State.
(7) A statutory instrument containing an order made under subsection (5) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.")

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 95.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 95.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 95A and 95B, as amendments to Commons Amendment No. 95, not moved.]


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page