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Courts Bill [HL]


Courts Bill [HL]
Part 1 — Maintaining the court system

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A

Bill

[AS AMENDED IN COMMITTEE]

To

Make provision about the courts and their procedure and practice; about

judges and magistrates; about fines and the enforcement processes of the

courts; about periodical payments of damages; and for connected purposes.                                                                            

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1

Maintaining the court system

The general duty

 1     The general duty

     (1)    The Lord Chancellor is under a duty to ensure that there is an efficient and

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effective system to support the carrying on of the business of—

           (a)           the Supreme Court,

           (b)           county courts, and

           (c)           magistrates’ courts,

            and that appropriate services are provided for those courts.

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     (2)    In this Part—

           (a)            “the Supreme Court” includes the district probate registries, and

           (b)            “magistrates’ court” includes a committee of justices.

     (3)    In this Part references to the Lord Chancellor’s general duty in relation to the

courts are to his duty under this section.

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HL Bill 5153/2
 
 

Courts Bill [HL]
Part 1 — Maintaining the court system

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     (4)    The Lord Chancellor must, within 18 months of the coming into force of this

section, and afterwards annually, prepare and lay before both Houses of

Parliament a report as to the business of the courts referred to in subsection (1).

Court staff and accommodation

 2     Court officers, staff and services

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     (1)    The Lord Chancellor may appoint such officers and other staff as appear to him

appropriate for the purpose of discharging his general duty in relation to the

courts.

     (2)    The principal civil service pension scheme for the time being in force applies

(with any necessary adaptations) to persons appointed under subsection (1) as

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it applies to other persons employed in the civil service of the State.

     (3)    “Principal civil service pension scheme” has the same meaning as in section 2

of the Superannuation Act 1972 (c. 11).

     (4)    The Lord Chancellor may enter into such arrangements for the provision of

officers, staff or services as appear to him appropriate for the purpose of

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discharging his general duty in relation to the courts.

     (5)    But subsection (4) does not authorise the Lord Chancellor to enter into

arrangements for the provision of officers or staff to discharge functions which

involve making judicial decisions or exercising any judicial discretion.

 3     Provision of accommodation

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     (1)    The Lord Chancellor shall provide, equip, maintain and manage such court-

houses, offices and other accommodation as appear to him appropriate for the

purpose of discharging his general duty in relation to the courts.

     (2)    The Lord Chancellor may enter into such arrangements for the provision,

equipment, maintenance or management of court-houses, offices or other

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accommodation as appear to him appropriate for the purpose of discharging

his general duty in relation to the courts.

     (3)    The powers under—

           (a)           section 2 of the Commissioners of Works Act 1852 (c. 28) (acquisition by

agreement), and

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           (b)           section 228(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c. 8)

(compulsory acquisition),

            to acquire land necessary for the public service are to be treated as including

power to acquire land for the purpose of its provision under arrangements

entered into under subsection (2).

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     (4)    “Court-house” means any place where a court sits, including the precincts of

any building in which it sits.

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Part 1 — Maintaining the court system

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Court administration councils

 4     Establishment of court administration councils

     (1)    England and Wales is to be divided into areas for each of which there is to be a

court administration council.

     (2)    The areas are to be those specified by an order made by the Lord Chancellor.

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     (3)    The members of the council are to be appointed by the Lord Chancellor.

     (4)    Each council must have—

           (a)           one member who is a judge,

           (b)           one member who is a lay justice,

           (c)           two other members who are persons appearing to the Lord Chancellor

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to have appropriate knowledge or experience of the work of the courts

in the area for which the council is established, and

           (d)           two more members who are persons appearing to the Lord Chancellor

to be representative of people living in that area,

            and may have other members.

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     (5)    The Lord Chancellor must provide the councils with guidance about the way

in which they should discharge their functions.

     (6)    The guidance may, in particular, include provision about the constitution,

procedure and quorum of the councils.

     (7)    A council is not prevented from exercising its functions because of a vacancy

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among its members or a defect in the appointment of a member.

 5     Role of court administration councils

     (1)    Each court administration council shall provide the Lord Chancellor with

recommendations about how he should discharge his general duty in relation

to—

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           (a)           the Crown Court,

           (b)           county courts, and

           (c)           magistrates’ courts,

            in the area for which the council is established.

     (2)    In discharging his general duty in relation to those courts, the Lord Chancellor

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must give due consideration to recommendations provided by the councils

under subsection (1).

     (3)    It is not part of the role of a council to provide recommendations under

subsection (1) on matters which do not relate specifically to the area for which

the council is established.

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Abolition of magistrates’ courts committees

 6     Abolition of magistrates’ courts committees, etc.

     (1)    The Greater London Magistrates’ Courts Authority (the magistrates’ courts

committee for Greater London) and all the magistrates’ courts committees for

areas of England and Wales outside Greater London are abolished.

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

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     (2)    In consequence of that—

           (a)           England and Wales outside Greater London is no longer divided into

magistrates’ courts committee areas, and

           (b)           the office of justices’ chief executive is abolished.

     (3)    Schedule 1 (abolition of magistrates’ courts committees: transfers) has effect.

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     (4)    The Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (c. 25) ceases to have effect.

Part 2

Justices of the peace

The commission of the peace and local justice areas

 7     The commission of the peace for England and Wales

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There shall be a commission of the peace for England and Wales—

           (a)           issued under the Great Seal, and

           (b)           addressed generally, and not by name, to all such persons as may from

time to time hold office as justices of the peace for England and Wales.

 8     Local justice areas

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     (1)    England and Wales is to be divided into areas to be known as local justice areas.

     (2)    The areas are to be those specified by an order made by the Lord Chancellor.

     (3)    Each local justice area established by order under subsection (2) is to be known

by such name as is specified in the order (but subject to subsection (4)).

     (4)    The Lord Chancellor may make orders altering local justice areas.

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     (5)    “Altering”, in relation to a local justice area, includes (as well as changing its

boundaries)—

           (a)           combining it with one or more other local justice areas,

           (b)           dividing it between two or more other local justice areas, and

           (c)           changing its name.

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     (6)    Before making an order under subsection (4) in relation to a local justice area

the Lord Chancellor must consult—

           (a)           the justices of the peace assigned to the local justice area,

           (b)           any court administration council whose area includes the local justice

area or a part of the local justice area, and

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           (c)           unless the alteration consists only of a change of name, any local

authorities whose area includes the local justice area or a part of the

local justice area.

     (7)    “Local authority” means—

           (a)           any council of a county, a county borough, a London borough or a

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council of a district, or

           (b)           a police authority established under section 3 of the Police Act 1996

(c. 16) or the Metropolitan Police Authority.

 

 

 
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