Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Fifth Report


PART VI - IMMUNITY AND INDEMNITY


Justices and their clerks

CLAUSE 68 - JUSTICES' AND CLERKS: IMMUNITY FROM COSTS

120.  Clause 68 gives justices of the peace and their clerks statutory immunity against being ordered to pay the costs of legal actions arising out of the conduct of their judicial functions, unless it is proved that they acted in bad faith. The clause inserts a new section 53A in the JPA 1997. Section 53A(3) empowers the court to order the Lord Chancellor to pay any costs that, but for the provisions of the section, it would have ordered against the justice or clerk. Section 53A(4) empowers the Lord Chancellor to make regulations, to be subject to the negative resolution procedure, specifying:

  • the circumstances when a court shall or shall not exercise the power under section 53A(3); and
  • how any amount ordered to be paid is to be determined.

121.  These matters are left to delegated legislation because the issues to be covered in the regulations may need to be changed from time to time, including matters that may need to be adjusted in the light of experience; and to avoid including details that are not appropriate to the face of the statute.

122.  Clause 68(2) makes similar provisions for Northern Ireland. The new Article 6A(4) of the Magistrates' Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 contains the equivalent power to make regulations.

123.  Clauses 69 and 70 contain no delegated powers

General Commissioners of income tax and their clerks

124.  Clause 71 - contains no delegated powers.

CLAUSE 72 - GENERAL COMMISSIONERS: IMMUNITY FROM COSTS AND EXPENSES

125.  Clause 72 gives General Commissioners of income tax immunity against being ordered to pay the costs of legal actions arising out of the conduct of their functions, unless it is proved that they acted in bad faith. The clause inserts a new section 2A in the Taxes Management Act 1970. Section 2A(3) empowers the court to order the Lord Chancellor (or, in Scotland, the Secretary of State) pay any costs that, but for the provisions of the section, it would have ordered against the General Commissioner. Section 2A(4) empowers the Lord Chancellor (or, in Scotland, the Secretary of State) to make regulations, to be subject to the negative resolution procedure, specifying:

  • the circumstances when a court shall or shall not exercise the power under section 2A(3); and
  • how any amount ordered to be paid is to be determined.

The Lord Chancellor's powers under this section extend to Northern Ireland.

126.  These matters are left to delegated legislation for the same reasons as the equivalent regulations about the immunity of justices and their clerks under clause 68 above.

127.  Clause 73 contains no delegated powers.

Coroners

128.  Clause 74 contains no delegated powers.


 
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