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COMMONS AMENDMENTS

100

Clause 60, transpose Clause 60 to after Clause 51


101

Clause 62, page 35, line 27, after ("shall") insert--


("(a) consist of the whole of one or more commission areas or be included wholly within a single commission area, and
(b)")
102

Clause 63, page 38, leave out lines 19 to


103

Clause 64, page 38, line 44, after ("body") insert ("corporate")


104

Page 38, line 46, leave out ("Greater London Magistrates' Courts")


105

Page 39, leave out lines 1 and 2


106

Page 39, leave out lines 10 to 19 and insert ("and


(b) provision about the Authority's constitution and procedure (including quorum and meetings).")
107

Page 39, line 23, at end insert--


("Procedure of Authority.
30C.--(1) The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority may, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, act through committees appointed by the Authority which, if they include at least one member of the Authority, may also include persons who are not members.
(2) The Authority may also arrange for the discharge of any of their functions--
(a) by the chairman of the Authority; or
(b) by the justices' chief executive.
(3) Subject to regulations made under this Act, the Authority shall have power to regulate their own procedure, including quorum.").
108

Page 39, leave out lines 25 to 28 and insert--


("(2) After section 59 of that Act insert--
"The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority
Functions.
59A.--(1) The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority shall provide such petty sessional court-houses and other accommodation, and such goods and services, as they may determine proper for the performance of the Authority's functions and those of--
(a) the magistrates for Greater London;
(b) any committee of the magistrates for Greater London; and
(c) the justices' clerks for any part of Greater London.
(2) The Authority may do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the function in subsection (1) above; but the Authority may not borrow money except insofar as authorised by any other enactment to do so.
Funding.
59B.--(1) The Lord Chancellor may pay grants to the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority in respect of the Authority's expenditure.
(2) Grants under this section shall be paid at such times, in such manner and subject to such conditions as the Lord Chancellor may with the concurrence of the Treasury determine.

14 Jul 1999 : Column 479


(3) Each London local authority shall pay to the Authority such amount in respect of--
(a) any kind of the Authority's expenditure in any year; or
(b) if less, such amount as may, in relation to that kind of expenditure and that year, be for the time being determined by the Lord Chancellor,
as may be determined in accordance with regulations made by the Lord Chancellor by statutory instrument.
(4) The Lord Chancellor may by regulations made by statutory instrument make provision as to the making of payments under subsection (3) above, including provision--
(a) as to whether payments are to be made by instalments or otherwise;
(b) as to the time when payments are to be made;
(c) conferring a right to interest on anything unpaid; and
(d) permitting a London local authority to anticipate a payment under this section when making calculations in accordance with section 32 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (originally or by way of substitute).
(5) The Lord Chancellor may with the consent of the Treasury make provision by regulations made by statutory instrument as to how any kind of the Authority's expenditure is to be determined.
(6) Subject to any such regulations, the Lord Chancellor may direct that in determining any kind of the Authority's expenditure there shall be taken into account or disregarded, to such extent as may be specified in the direction, such items as may be so specified.
(7) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
(8) In this section "London local authority" means the council of any London borough or the Common Council of the City of London.
Consultation.
59C.--(1) The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority shall consult each London local authority before making any determination under section 59A(1) above or any determination as to--
(a) the salary to be paid to a justices' clerk or justices' chief executive and to staff of the Authority; or
(b) the nature and amount of the expenses which the Authority may incur in the discharge of their functions or may authorise to be incurred.
(2) Any London local authority which is aggrieved by such a determination may, within one month from the receipt by the London local authority of written notice of the determination, appeal to the Lord Chancellor, whose decision shall be binding upon the Authority and the London local authority concerned.
(3) In this section, "London local authority" has the same meaning as in section 59B above.
Accounting.
59D.--(1) The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority shall keep a fund to be known as the GLMCA fund.
(2) All the Authority's receipts shall be paid into the GLMCA fund and all the Authority's expenditure shall be paid out of it.
(3) The Authority shall--
(a) keep accounts of payments made into or out of the GLMCA fund; and
(b) make arrangements for the proper administration of their financial affairs.

14 Jul 1999 : Column 480


(4) The Lord Chancellor may by regulations made by statutory instrument make provision applying--
(a) Part VIII of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (financial administration); and
(b) Part II of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (accounts and audit of public bodies),
to the Authority, with or without modifications and exceptions.
(5) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
Provisions applying to all magistrates' courts committees"..
(3) Schedule (The Greater London Magistrates Courts' Authority) (which makes provision supplementary to this section) shall have effect.")
109

Clause 65, page 39, line 31, leave out ("56") and insert ("59D and the heading after that section (inserted by section 64 above)")


110

Page 39, line 32, leave out ("56A") and insert ("59E")


111

Page 39, line 36, after ("55(1)") insert ("or 59A(1)")


112

Page 40, line 11, leave out ("56A(2)") and insert ("59E(2)")


113

Page 40, line 19, leave out ("56A") and insert ("59E")

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 100 to 113. I have already spoken to them.

Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos.100 to 113.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

114

After Clause 65, insert the following new clause--

POWER TO DIRECT IMPLEMENTATION OF INSPECTORS' RECOMMENDATIONS

(". In section 62 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (inspectors of the magistrates' courts service), after subsection (4) insert--
"(4A) If pursuant to this section a recommendation is made for the taking of any action by a magistrates' courts committee, the Lord Chancellor may give a direction requiring the committee to take the recommended action within a period specified in the direction."").

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 114. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 115, 131, 202, 205 and 206. Amendment No. 114 adds a new clause to the Bill which gives the Lord Chancellor the power to direct a magistrates' courts committee to implement a recommendation made by Her Majesty's Magistrates Courts Inspectorate.

Magistrates courts committees are responsible under statute for the efficient and effective administration of the magistrates' courts for their areas. MCCs are made up almost entirely of lay magistrates and, supported by the justices' chief executive, provide local management of the magistrates' courts. The Government value and intend to preserve that.

14 Jul 1999 : Column 481

Under the 1997 Act the Lord Chancellor currently has powers to require MCCs to act in accordance with directions. He can set performance standards and make regulations requiring committees to produce reports and plans and also make regulations requiring them to keep prescribed accounts. If an MCC fails to discharge a statutory duty the Lord Chancellor has the default power to remove one or more members of the committee and if the failure continues, to remove the whole committee.

MCCs are subject to inspection by the Magistrates' Courts Services Inspectorate. If an MCC is failing the inspectorate will invariably be asked to make a special report. All reports include recommendations for improvement. In most cases MCCs take steps to improve. However, there have been cases in which action has been inadequate. The new power will give the Lord Chancellor a means of dealing with cases of this sort by directing that that the recommendation be complied with. The default power to remove members of the committee will be available if the Lord Chancellor's direction is not complied with. This fits into a graduated response to an MCC's failure. The Lord Chancellor does not intend to use it as a matter of routine but only when, for example, he considers that an MCC has had the opportunity to take action but has failed to do so. The new clause inserted by Amendment No. 115 complements the power to require magistrates' courts committees to administer magistrates' courts in an efficient and effective manner. It enables the Lord Chancellor to introduce a code of conduct to be followed by members of magistrates' courts committees and the panels that select them.

Amendment No. 115 provides the Lord Chancellor with the power to introduce a code of conduct and, should it ever become necessary, remove individual members of courts' committees or selection panels who fail to comply with the code. It is only right that individuals, as well as the whole body, should be accountable for their actions.

Amendment No. 131 ensures that the new clause will come into force two months after Royal Assent. Amendments Nos. 202, 205 and 206 make consequential changes.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 114.--(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


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