Courts Bill [HL]—
Amendments to be debated in the House of Lordscontinued

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Before Schedule 1

 

THE LORD KINGSLAND
THE BARONESS ANELAY OF ST JOHNS
THE LORD GOODHART
THE LORD PHILLIPS OF SUDBURY

30Insert the following new Schedule—
 

"SCHEDULE A1
AREA COURTS MANAGEMENT BOARDS

 

Constitution

 1      An area courts management board shall be a body corporate.
 2   (1)   An area courts management board shall consist of a chairman, a chief officer and not less than 10 other members, of whom 4 shall be justices of the peace.
(2)      One of the other 10 members shall be appointed by the Lord Chancellor from among the judges of the Crown Court (being a judge of the High Court, a Circuit judge or a Recorder).
(3)      The chairman shall be appointed by the Lord Chancellor, and the Chief Officer shall be appointed by the board, from a shortlist of individuals approved by the Lord Chancellor as being suitable for appointment.
(4)      The 10 other members shall be appointed by a local selection panel, subject to the final approval of the Lord Chancellor.
(5)      Regulations must make provision as to—
(a)  the appointment of board members, including the composition of, and procedure for, the selection panel;
(b)  limits on the number of members who may be appointed; and
(c)  any conditions to be fulfilled for appointment as a member.
(6)      Regulations made by virtue of sub-paragraph (5) must make provision for the selection procedure for the chairman, the chief officer and the other members of the board who are to be appointed by local selection panels.
(7)      Regulations made by virtue of sub-paragraph (5) must provide, so far as it is practicable to do so, for the persons appointed to be representative of the local community in the board's area and to live or work (or to have lived or worked) in that area.
(8)      In the following paragraphs of this Schedule where the context allows, "member" includes the chairman and chief officer.
 

Tenure of members

 3   (1)   A person is to hold and vacate office as a member in accordance with the terms of the instrument appointing him.
(2)      A person may at any time resign office as a member by giving written notice to the board or, as the case may be, the Lord Chancellor.
(3)      The board or, as the case may be, the Lord Chancellor may remove a member from office by giving written notice to him.
(4)      Regulations may make provision as to the tenure of office of the members including the circumstances in which they cease to hold office or may be removed or suspended from office.
(5)      The chief officer is to be treated for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (c. 18) as if he were in Crown employment (within the meaning of that Act).
(6)      Sub-paragraphs (1) to (3) have effect subject to sub-paragraph (5) and any regulations made by virtue of sub-paragraph (4).
 

Chairman's report

 4      Regulations may require the chairman to make a report to the Lord Chancellor about the performance of the other members, or any of them, and may confer other functions on the chairman.
 

Remuneration etc.

 5   (1)   The Lord Chancellor shall pay, or make provision for paying, to or in respect of any person who is or has been a member—
(a)  any remuneration, fees or expenses,
(b)  any pension, allowance or gratuity, determined by him.
(2)      If the Lord Chancellor determines that there are special circumstances that make it right for a person ceasing to hold office as a member otherwise than on the expiration of his term of office to receive compensation, the Lord Chancellor may pay an amount of compensation determined by him to that person.
 

Procedure

 6      Regulations may provide for—
(a)  the establishment and functions of committees and sub-committees (including committees and sub-committees which consist of or include persons who are not members),
(b)  the procedures of the boards and of any committees or sub-committees of the boards (including quorum and the validation of proceedings in the event of vacancies or defects in appointment).
 

Secretary and Treasurer

 7      Regulations shall provide for—
(a)  each area courts management board to appoint a secretary or treasurer (including the conditions to be fulfilled for appointment),
(b)  the tenure of office of a secretary or treasurer so appointed (including the circumstances in which he ceases to hold office or may be removed or suspended from office).
 

Staff

 8   (1)   An area courts management board may deploy staff allocated to it on terms and conditions determined by the area courts management board as to—
(a)  any remuneration, fees or expenses,
(b)  any pension, allowance or gratuity.
(2)      But—
(a)  a determination under this paragraph requires the approval of the Lord Chancellor,
(b)  the Lord Chancellor may give directions as to the deployment of staff of a description specified in the directions, and
(c)  the Lord Chancellor may give directions as to the qualifications, experience or training of staff.
 

Delegation of functions

 9      An area courts management board may arrange for a committee, sub-committee or member to discharge functions of the board.
 10      Regulations may provide for prescribed functions or other powers of an area courts management board to be exercised by the chief officer on behalf of the board.
 

Payments to boards

 11   (1)   The Lord Chancellor shall pay to an area courts management board any amount he considers appropriate to enable it to discharge its duties under section 5.
(2)      If he considers it appropriate, he may make any payment on conditions.
(3)      The conditions may (among other things)—
(a)  regulate the purposes for which the payment or any part of it may be used, and
(b)  require repayment to the Lord Chancellor in specified circumstances.
 

Supervision

 12   (1)   Functions and other powers of area courts management boards must be performed in accordance with any directions given to them by the Lord Chancellor.
(2)      An area courts management board must provide the Lord Chancellor with any information relating to the performance of its functions or other powers which he may from time to time require.
 

Ancillary powers

 13   (1)   Subject to any directions given by the Lord Chancellor, an area courts management board may do anything which appears to it to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of, or in connection with, the exercise of its functions, including—
(a)  holding property,
(b)  entering into contracts,
(c)  investing sums not immediately required for the purpose of performing its functions,
(d)  accepting gifts.
(2)      But an area courts management board may not—
(a)  hold land (though it may manage it), and
(b)  borrow money, whether by way of overdraft or otherwise, without the approval of the Lord Chancellor.
(3)      Approval under sub-paragraph (2)(b) may be either general or special.
 

Directions

 14   (1)   Different directions may be given under this Schedule for different purposes.
(2)      Directions under this Schedule may be either general or special.
(3)      Directions under this Schedule may apply in relation to area courts management boards generally or in relation to one or more area courts management boards identified in the directions.
 

Annual plan

 15   (1)   An area courts management board must, before the beginning of each financial year—
(a)  prepare a plan setting out how it intends to exercise its functions in that year, having regard to the circumstances prevailing in its area, and dealing with any other matter which the Lord Chancellor by directions requires it to deal with in respect of that year,
(b)  send a copy of the plan to the Lord Chancellor.
(2)      If the plan does not appear to the Lord Chancellor to be satisfactory, he may direct the area courts management board to modify it.
 

Reports

 16   (1)   An area courts management board must—
(a)  make a report to the Lord Chancellor on the performance of its functions during each financial year, and
(b)  arrange for the report to be published.
(2)      The Lord Chancellor may give directions as to—
(a)  the information to be given in the report and the form in which it is to be given,
(b)  the time by which the report is to be made,
(c)  the form and manner in which the report is to be published.
 

Accounts

 17   (1)   An area courts management board must—
(a)  keep proper accounts and proper records in relation to the accounts,
(b)  prepare in respect of each financial year of the board a statement of accounts.
(2)      The Comptroller and Auditor General may examine any accounts of an area courts management board, any records relating to the accounts and any auditor's report on them.
(3)      In the Audit Commission Act 1998 (c. 18)—
(a)  in section 11(2) (consideration of reports and recommendations), for paragraph (f) there is substituted—
"(f)  area courts management boards established under section 4 of the Courts Act 2003",
(b)  in Schedule 2 (accounts subject to audit), for paragraph 1(p) there is substituted—
"(p)  an area courts management board established under section 4 of the Courts Act 2003".
(4)      The Lord Chancellor must prepare in respect of each financial year consolidated accounts of the area courts management boards and send them, not later than the time specified in directions given by the Treasury, to the Comptroller and Auditor General.
(5)      The Comptroller and Auditor General must examine and certify the consolidated accounts and lay copies of them, together with his report on them, before the House of Commons.
 

Complaints

 18      Regulations may require each area courts management board to make and publicise arrangements for dealing with complaints made by or on behalf of prescribed persons in relation to things done under the arrangements made by the board under section 5.
 

Status

 19      An area courts management board is not to be regarded as the servant or agent of the Crown, or as enjoying any status, privilege or immunity of the Crown; and its property is not to be regarded as property of, or property held on behalf of, the Crown.
 

Interpretation

 20      "Financial year", in this Schedule, means—
(a)  the period beginning with the date on which the area courts management board is established and ending with the next following 31st March, and
(b)  each successive period of twelve months."
 

Schedule 1

 

THE LORD KINGSLAND
THE LORD HUNT OF WIRRAL

31Page 54, line 23, at end insert—
"(2A)  Before making any property transfer scheme, the Lord Chancellor shall consult any of the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) who are affected by the scheme."
 

THE BARONESS GIBSON OF MARKET RASEN
THE LORD LEA OF CRONDALL
THE LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE

32Page 56, line 14, leave out paragraph 9 and insert—
 "9   (1)   The Lord Chancellor shall make a scheme (a "staff transfer scheme") for the transfer, immediately before Magistrates' Courts Committees are abolished by section 6, of all eligible employees into employment by the Lord Chancellor.
(2)      "Eligible employee" means a person who is employed under a contract of employment—
(a)  by a Magistrates' Courts Committee, or
(b)  by a local authority in that part of the local authority's undertaking which carries out the local authority's functions under section 55 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (c. 25) (duties of local authorities).
(3)      All eligible employees shall be treated in the same way as an employee in circumstances where the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (S.I. 1981/1794) apply and, for the purposes of this Schedule, the employing Magistrates' Courts Committee or local authority shall be treated as transferor and the Lord Chancellor shall be treated as the transferee."
 

THE LORD KINGSLAND
THE LORD HUNT OF WIRRAL

33Page 56, line 18, at end insert—
"(2A)  Before making any staff transfer scheme the Lord Chancellor shall consult any eligible employees who are affected by the scheme."
 

THE LORD GOODHART
THE LORD THOMAS OF GRESFORD

34Page 57, line 25, leave out paragraph 10

 
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©Parliamentary copyright 2003
27 January 2003