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COMMONS AMENDMENT

96

After Clause 52, insert the following new clause--

ADJOURNMENT OF INQUEST IN EVENT OF JUDICIAL INQUIRY

(".--(1) In the Coroners Act 1988, after section 17 insert--
"Adjournment of inquest in event of judicial inquiry.
17A.--(1) If on an inquest into a death the coroner is informed by the Lord Chancellor before the conclusion of the inquest that--
(a) a public inquiry conducted or chaired by a judge is being, or is to be, held into the events surrounding the death; and
(b) the Lord Chancellor considers that the cause of death is likely to be adequately investigated by the inquiry,
the coroner shall, in the absence of any exceptional reason to the contrary, adjourn the inquest and, if a jury has been summoned, may, if he thinks fit, discharge them.
(2) Where a coroner adjourns an inquest in compliance with subsection (1) above, he shall send to the registrar of deaths a certificate under his hand stating, so far as they have been ascertained at the date of the certificate, the particulars which under the 1953 Act are required to be registered concerning the death.
(3) Where a coroner has adjourned an inquest in compliance with subsection (1) above, the Lord Chancellor shall send him the findings of the public inquiry as soon as reasonably practicable after their publication.

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(4) A coroner may only resume an inquest which has been adjourned in compliance with subsection (1) above if in his opinion there is exceptional reason for doing so; and he shall not do so--
(a) before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the findings of the public inquiry are published; or
(b) if the Lord Chancellor notifies the coroner that this paragraph applies, before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the public inquiry is concluded.
(5) Where a coroner resumes an inquest which has been adjourned in compliance with subsection (1) above--
(a) the provisions of section 8(3) above shall not apply in relation to that inquest; and
(b) if he summons a jury (but not where he resumes without a jury, or with the same jury as before the adjournment), he shall proceed in all respects as if the inquest had not previously begun and the provisions of this Act shall apply accordingly as if the resumed inquest were a fresh inquest.
(6) Where a coroner does not resume an inquest which he has adjourned in compliance with subsection (1) above, he shall (without prejudice to subsection (2) above) send to the registrar of deaths a certificate under his hand stating any findings of the public inquiry in relation to the death."
(2) In section 8(4) of that Act (power to summon jury), for "either before he proceeds to hold an inquest" substitute "before he proceeds to hold an inquest, on resuming an inquest begun with a jury after the inquest has been adjourned and the jury discharged".
(3) In the sidenote to section 16 of that Act (adjournment of inquest in certain cases), for "certain cases" substitute "event of criminal proceedings".")

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 96.

The amendment inserts a new clause which amends the Coroners Act 1988 to make provision for coroners' inquests to be adjourned where the death in question is likely to be investigated adequately by a judicial inquiry set up to inquire into the wider events in which the death occurred. The inquest would be resumed only in exceptional circumstances.

The new clause reflects the recommendations of the report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Disasters and Inquests, which was published in 1997, and which concluded that there was some overlap between coroners' inquests and public inquiries. It concluded that there was not normally a need to hold a public judicial inquiry and a full inquest. The duplication prolonged the investigation unnecessarily and could cause additional distress to the relatives of the deceased.

This is a small but very useful reform which I commend to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 96.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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COMMONS AMENDMENT

97

Clause 55, page 29, line 41, at end insert ("; but a commission area may not consist of an area partly within and partly outside Greater London.")

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 97. With the leave of the House, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 101 to 113 inclusive, 183 to 193 inclusive, 197, 203, 204, 207, 221, 222, 224 to 227 inclusive, and 231.

These government amendments all provide for the establishment of the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority, replacing the existing 22 magistrates' courts committees as the magistrates' courts committee for Greater London.

The provisions for the new authority broadly mirror those in place for all other magistrates' courts committees in England and Wales. Some of the amendments provide for arrangements that differ from the existing national framework in order to accommodate the particular circumstances in London. The more significant of these are: Amendment No. 108, which requires the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority, rather than the local authorities, to provide accommodation, goods and services; and Amendment No. 207, which provides for the transfer of property from the local authorities to the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority. The remainder of these amendments cover the detail of the functional, financial and transitional arrangements necessary for establishing the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority and make consequential changes to other Acts. I commend the amendments to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 97.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

98

After Clause 57, insert the following new clause--

YOUTH COURTS

(".--(1) Part I of the Second Schedule to the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (constitution of youth courts outside the metropolitan area) is amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (5).
(2) Omit the headings "Outside Metropolitan Area" and "Youth court panels".
(3) Omit paragraph 1 (exclusion of inner London and the City of London from the scope of Part I).
(4) In paragraph 8 (as amended by Schedule 7) (prohibition on forming combined youth court panel unless the area consists of single commission area), at the end insert ", or includes the City of London".
(5) For paragraph 9 substitute--
"9. No order under this Schedule shall provide for the formation of a combined youth panel for an area unless the area consists of, or is wholly included in, the area of a single magistrates' courts committee."
(6) Omit Part II of that Schedule (particular provision for inner London and the City).")

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in

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their Amendment No. 98. I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 182, 194, 201, 223 and 228 to 230 inclusive.

This group of amendments provides for the operation of the youth courts in the light of other changes made in this Bill. Schedule 11 to the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 contains provisions relating to the constitution of the youth courts. These are different for the Metropolitan area, that is Inner London and the City, and the rest of the country, including the rest of Greater London. Outside the Metropolitan area much of the detail is set out in rules. However, in the Metropolitan area the relevant provisions are set out in primary legislation.

Amendment No. 98 creates a common legislative framework for youth courts throughout the country. Amendment No. 194 deals with the position of District Judges (magistrates' courts). Amendment No. 201 makes transitional provisions and Amendments Nos. 223 and 228 to 230 inclusive restructure the schedule of repeals to take account of Amendment No. 98. Amendment No. 182 is simply a drafting improvement. I commend the amendment to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 98.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

99

Clause 60, page 34, line 23, leave out from ("(which") to ("has") in line 25 and insert ("makes provision about the enforcement of community orders by the Crown Court)")

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 99. I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 100, 195, 196 and 235. These are minor amendments relating to Clause 60 and Schedule 9, which deal with community orders made by the Crown Court.

Amendment No. 195 removes an unnecessary provision in paragraph 9 of Schedule 9. Paragraph 9(2) inserts references in paragraph 8(1)(a) of Schedule 2 to the Criminal Justice Act 1991 into three other statutes. Paragraph 8(1)(a) deals with applications to the Crown Court to revoke community orders which the Crown Court itself has made. The insertions are unnecessary because the three other statutes in question provide only for magistrates' courts to make community orders, not the Crown Court.

Amendments Nos. 100, 196 and 235 move Clause 60, Schedule 9 and the related repeals to different points in the Bill to give it a better overall structure. Amendment No. 99 is a drafting amendment consequential to this. I commend the amendment to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 99.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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