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Courts Bill [HL]


Courts Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Justices of the peace

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 18    Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate)

The Lord Chancellor—

           (a)           may designate one of the District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts) to be

Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate), and

           (b)           if he does so, may designate another of them to be the deputy of the

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Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate).

 19    Deputy District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts)

     (1)    The Lord Chancellor may appoint a person who has a 7 year general

qualification to be a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) for such

period as the Lord Chancellor considers appropriate (but subject to subsection

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(4)).

     (2)    A Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) must, before acting as such, take

the oath of allegiance and judicial oath in accordance with the Promissory

Oaths Act 1868 (c. 72) and the Promissory Oaths Act 1871 (c. 48), except that the

oaths—

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           (a)           must be taken before someone other than a lay justice, and

           (b)           may be taken before a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts).

     (3)    The Lord Chancellor may pay to a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts)

such remuneration and allowances as he may determine.

     (4)    The Lord Chancellor may remove a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’

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Courts) from office on the ground of incapacity or misbehaviour.

     (5)    During the period of his appointment, a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’

Courts)—

           (a)           is to act as a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts), and

           (b)           is to be treated for all purposes (apart from appointment, tenure,

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remuneration, allowances and pensions) as if he were a District Judge

(Magistrates’ Courts).

 20    District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts) as justices of the peace

     (1)    A District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) is by virtue of his office a justice of the

peace for England and Wales.

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     (2)    It is the duty of a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) to act as a justice of the

peace in any local justice area in accordance with arrangements made by or on

behalf of the Lord Chancellor.

 21    District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts) able to act alone

     (1)    Nothing in the 1980 Act—

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           (a)           requiring a magistrates’ court to be composed of two or more justices,

or

           (b)           limiting the powers of a magistrates’ court when composed of a single

justice,

            applies to a District Judge (Magistrates’ Court).

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     (2)    A District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) may—

           (a)           do any act, and

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Justices of the peace

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           (b)           exercise alone any jurisdiction,

            which can be done or exercised by two justices, apart from granting or

transferring a licence.

     (3)    Any enactment making provision ancillary to the jurisdiction exercisable by

two justices of the peace also applies to the jurisdiction of a District Judge

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(Magistrates’ Courts), unless the provision relates to granting or transferring a

licence.

     (4)    This section does not apply to the hearing or determination of family

proceedings (as defined by section 65 of the 1980 Act).

     (5)    “The 1980 Act” means the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (c. 43).

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Justices’ clerks and assistant clerks

 22    Justices’ clerks and assistant clerks

     (1)    A justices’ clerk is a person who is—

           (a)           appointed by the Lord Chancellor under section 2(1), and

           (b)           designated by the Lord Chancellor as a justices’ clerk.

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     (2)    A person may be designated as a justices’ clerk only if he—

           (a)           has a 5 year magistrates’ courts qualification,

           (b)           is a barrister or solicitor who has served for not less than 5 years as an

assistant to a justices’ clerk, or

           (c)           has previously been a justices’ clerk.

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     (3)    An assistant to a justices’ clerk is a person who is—

           (a)           appointed by the Lord Chancellor under section 2(1) or provided under

arrangements made by him under section 2(4), and

           (b)           designated by the Lord Chancellor as an assistant to a justices’ clerk.

     (4)    The Lord Chancellor may by regulations provide that, subject to such

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exceptions as may be prescribed by the regulations, a person may be

designated as an assistant to a justices’ clerk only if he—

           (a)           has a 5 year magistrates’ court qualification, or

           (b)           has such qualifications as may be prescribed by, or approved by the

Lord Chancellor in accordance with, the regulations.

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     (5)    In this Part “assistant clerk” is short for “assistant to a justices’ clerk”.

 23    Functions

     (1)    Rules may make provision enabling things authorised to be done by, to or

before a single justice of the peace to be done instead by, to or before a justices’

clerk.

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     (2)    Rules may also make provision enabling things authorised to be done by, to or

before a justices’ clerk (whether by virtue of subsection (1) or otherwise) to be

done instead by, to or before an assistant clerk.

     (3)    An enactment or rule of law which—

           (a)           regulates the exercise of any jurisdiction or powers of justices of the

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peace, or

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Justices of the peace

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           (b)           relates to things done in the exercise or purported exercise of any such

jurisdiction or powers,

            applies in relation to the exercise or purported exercise of any such jurisdiction

or powers by a justices’ clerk by virtue of subsection (1) as if he were a justice

of the peace.

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     (4)    The functions of a justices’ clerk include giving advice to any or all of the

justices of the peace to whom he is clerk about matters of law (including

procedure and practice) on questions arising in connection with the discharge

of their functions, including questions arising when the clerk is not personally

attending on them.

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     (5)    The powers of a justices’ clerk include, at any time when he thinks he should

do so, bringing to the attention of any or all of the justices of the peace to whom

he is clerk any point of law (including procedure and practice) that is or may

be involved in any question so arising.

     (6)    For the purposes of subsections (4) and (5) the functions of justices of the peace

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do not include functions as a judge of the Crown Court.

     (7)    Subsections (4) and (5) do not limit—

           (a)           the powers and duties of a justices’ clerk, or

           (b)           the matters on which justices of the peace may obtain assistance from

their clerk.

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     (8)    In this section “rules” means rules made by the Lord Chancellor.

     (9)    Before making any rules for the purposes of this section the Lord Chancellor

must consult—

           (a)           the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee,

           (b)           the Family Procedure Rule Committee, and

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           (c)           the Magistrates’ Courts Rule Committee.

 24    Independence

     (1)    A justices’ clerk exercising—

           (a)           a function exercisable by one or more justices of the peace,

           (b)           a function specified in section 23(4) or (5) (advice on matters of law,

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including procedure and practice), or

           (c)           a function as a member of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee or

the Family Procedure Rule Committee,

            is not subject to the direction of the Lord Chancellor or any other person.

     (2)    An assistant clerk who is exercising any such function is not subject to the

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direction of any person other than a justices’ clerk.

Places, dates and times of sittings

 25    Places, dates and times of sittings

     (1)    The Lord Chancellor may give directions as to the places in England and Wales

at which magistrates’ courts may sit.

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Courts Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Justices of the peace

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     (2)    The Lord Chancellor may, with the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, give

directions as to the distribution of the general business of magistrates’ courts

between the places specified in directions under subsection (1).

     (3)    Directions under subsection (2) may, in particular, contain provision that,

where a person is charged with an offence and is being required to appear

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before a magistrates’ court, the place where he is required to appear is one of

the places described in subsection (4).

     (4)    The places are—

           (a)           a place in the local justice area in which the offence is alleged to have

been committed;

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           (b)           a place in the local justice area in which the person charged with the

offence resides;

           (c)           a place in the local justice area in which the witnesses, or the majority

of the witnesses, reside;

           (d)           a place where other cases raising similar issues are being dealt with.

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     (5)    “The general business of magistrates’ courts” does not include family

proceedings (as defined in section 65 of the 1980 Act).

     (6)    The Lord Chancellor may give directions as to the days on which and times at

which magistrates’ courts may sit.

     (7)    Subject to any directions under subsection (6), the business of magistrates’

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courts may be conducted on any day and at any time.

Protection and indemnification of justices and justices’ clerks

 26    Immunity for acts within jurisdiction

     (1)    No action lies against a justice of the peace in respect of what he does or omits

to do—

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           (a)           in the execution of his duty as a justice of the peace, and

           (b)           in relation to a matter within his jurisdiction.

     (2)    No action lies against a justices’ clerk or an assistant clerk in respect of what he

does or omits to do—

           (a)           in the execution of his duty as a justices’ clerk or assistant clerk

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exercising, by virtue of an enactment, a function of a single justice of the

peace, and

           (b)           in relation to a matter within his jurisdiction.

 27    Immunity for certain acts beyond jurisdiction

     (1)    An action lies against a justice of the peace in respect of what he does or omits

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to do—

           (a)           in the purported execution of his duty as a justice of the peace, but

           (b)           in relation to a matter not within his jurisdiction,

            if, but only if, it is proved that he acted in bad faith.

     (2)    An action lies against a justices’ clerk or an assistant clerk in respect of what he

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does or omits to do—

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Justices of the peace

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           (a)           in the purported execution of his duty as a justices’ clerk or assistant

clerk exercising, by virtue of an enactment, a function of a single justice

of the peace, but

           (b)           in relation to a matter not within his jurisdiction,

            if, but only if, it is proved that he acted in bad faith.

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 28    Striking out proceedings where action prohibited

     (1)    If an action is brought in circumstances in which section 26 or 27 provides that

no action lies, a judge of the court in which the action is brought may, on the

application of the defendant, strike out the proceedings in the action.

     (2)    If a judge strikes out proceedings under subsection (1), he may if he thinks fit

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order the person bringing the action to pay costs.

 29    Costs in legal proceedings

     (1)    A court may not order a justice of the peace to pay costs in any proceedings in

respect of what he does or omits to do in the execution (or purported

execution) of his duty as a justice of the peace.

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     (2)    A court may not order—

           (a)           a justices’ clerk, or

           (b)           an assistant clerk,

            to pay costs in any proceedings in respect of what he does or omits to do in the

execution (or purported execution) of his duty as a justices’ clerk or assistant

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clerk exercising, by virtue of an enactment, a function of a single justice of the

peace.

     (3)    But subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in relation to any proceedings in which

a justice of the peace, justices’ clerk or assistant clerk—

           (a)           is being tried for an offence or is appealing against a conviction, or

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           (b)           is proved to have acted in bad faith in respect of the matters giving rise

to the proceedings.

     (4)    A court which is prevented by subsection (1) or (2) from ordering a justice of

the peace, justices’ clerk or assistant clerk to pay costs in any proceedings may

instead order the Lord Chancellor to make a payment in respect of the costs of

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a person in the proceedings.

     (5)    The Lord Chancellor may make regulations specifying—

           (a)           circumstances in which a court must or must not exercise the power

conferred on it by subsection (4), and

           (b)           how the amount of any payment ordered under subsection (4) is to be

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determined.

 30    Indemnity

     (1)    “Indemnifiable amounts”, in relation to a justice of the peace, justices’ clerk or

assistant clerk, means—

           (a)           costs which he reasonably incurs in or in connection with proceedings

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in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in the exercise (or

purported exercise) of his duty as a justice of the peace, justices’ clerk

or assistant clerk,

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Justices of the peace

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           (b)           costs which he reasonably incurs in taking steps to dispute a claim

which might be made in such proceedings,

           (c)           damages awarded against him or costs ordered to be paid by him in

such proceedings, or

           (d)           sums payable by him in connection with a reasonable settlement of

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such proceedings or such a claim.

     (2)    Indemnifiable amounts relate to criminal matters if the duty mentioned in

subsection (1)(a) relates to criminal matters.

     (3)    The Lord Chancellor must indemnify a justice of the peace, justices’ clerk or

assistant clerk in respect of—

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           (a)           indemnifiable amounts which relate to criminal matters, unless it is

proved, in respect of the matters giving rise to the proceedings or claim,

that he acted in bad faith, and

           (b)           other indemnifiable amounts if, in respect of the matters giving rise to

the proceedings or claim, he acted reasonably and in good faith.

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     (4)    The Lord Chancellor may indemnify a justice of the peace, justices’ clerk or

assistant clerk in respect of other indemnifiable amounts unless it is proved, in

respect of the matters giving rise to the proceedings or claim, that he acted in

bad faith.

     (5)    Any question whether, or to what extent, a person is to be indemnified under

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this section is to be determined by the Lord Chancellor.

     (6)    The Lord Chancellor may, if the person claiming to be indemnified so requests,

make a determination for the purposes of this section with respect to—

           (a)           costs such as are mentioned in subsection (1)(a) or (b), or

           (b)           sums such as are mentioned in subsection (1)(d),

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            before the costs are incurred or the settlement in connection with which the

sums are payable is made.

     (7)    But a determination under subsection (6) before costs are incurred—

           (a)           is subject to such limitations (if any) as the Lord Chancellor thinks

proper and to the subsequent determination of the costs reasonably

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incurred, and

           (b)           does not affect any other determination which may fall to be made in

connection with the proceedings or claim in question.

Fines officers and designated officers

 31    Fines officers

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     (1)    Any reference in an enactment (whenever passed) to a fines officer is to a

person who is—

           (a)           appointed by the Lord Chancellor under section 2(1), and

           (b)           designated as a fines officer by the Lord Chancellor.

     (2)    Schedule 2 contains provisions about collection of fines by fines officers.

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     (3)    But Schedule 2 is to have effect only in accordance with—

           (a)           subsections (4) and (5) (pilot schemes), or

           (b)           subsections (6) to (8) (power to make scheme, or modified version of

scheme, permanent after completion of pilots).

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Justices of the peace

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     (4)    The Lord Chancellor may by order provide that Schedule 2 is to have effect for

the period specified in the order in relation to a local justice area, or in relation

to particular local justice areas, specified in the order.

     (5)    An order under subsection (4) may make provision modifying Schedule 2, or

any enactment in connection with the operation of Schedule 2, in relation to the

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specified local justice area or areas and the specified period.

     (6)    The Lord Chancellor may, at the end of the relevant period, by order provide

that Schedule 2 is to have effect—

           (a)           in all local justice areas, and

           (b)           indefinitely.

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     (7)    “The relevant period” means—

           (a)           if one order has been made under subsection (4), the end of the period

specified in the order;

           (b)           if more than one order has been made under subsection (4), the end of

the latest specified period.

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     (8)    An order under subsection (6) may make such amendments of—

           (a)           Schedule 2, and

           (b)           any other enactments,

            as appear to the Lord Chancellor appropriate in the light of the operation of the

Schedule in accordance with the order made under subsection (4) (pilot

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schemes).

 32    Designated officers and magistrates’ courts

     (1)    Any reference in an enactment (whenever passed) to the designated officer, in

relation to a magistrates’ court, justice of the peace or local justice area, is to a

person who is—

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           (a)           appointed by the Lord Chancellor under section 2(1) or provided under

arrangements made by him under section 2(4), and

           (b)           designated by the Lord Chancellor in relation to that court, justice of the

peace or area.

     (2)    In this section “magistrates’ court” includes—

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           (a)           a committee of justices, and

           (b)           when exercising a function exercisable by one or more justices of the

peace—

                  (i)                 a justices’ clerk, and

                  (ii)                an assistant clerk.

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Application of receipts of magistrates’ courts etc.

 33    Application of receipts of designated officers

     (1)    The following are to be paid to the Lord Chancellor—

           (a)           fines imposed by a magistrates’ court,

           (b)           sums which—

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                  (i)                 become payable by virtue of an order of a magistrates’ court,

and

 

 

 
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