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Courts Bill [HL]


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

    13

 

           (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

    14

 

           (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

    15

 

     (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

 

 

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

    16

 

                  (ii)                are by an enactment made applicable as fines (or any

description of fines) imposed by a magistrates’ court, and

           (c)           all other sums received by—

                  (i)                 a designated officer for a magistrates’ court, or

                  (ii)                a designated officer for a local justice area,

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                         in his capacity as such.

     (2)    “Fine” includes—

           (a)           any pecuniary penalty, pecuniary forfeiture or pecuniary

compensation payable under a conviction, and

           (b)           any pecuniary forfeiture on conviction by, or under any order of, a

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magistrates’ court so far as the forfeiture is converted into or consists of

money.

     (3)    For the purposes of this section anything done by the Crown Court on appeal

from a magistrates’ court is to be treated as done by the magistrates’ court.

     (4)    Any sums received by the Lord Chancellor under this section are to be paid by

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him into the Consolidated Fund.

 34    Limits to requirements about application of receipts

     (1)    Section 33(1) is subject to section 139 of the 1980 Act (sums paid on summary

conviction applied for payment of compensation and costs).

     (2)    Paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 33(1) do not apply to sums which, by or under

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any enactment, are directed to be paid to—

           (a)           the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, or

           (b)           officers of, or persons appointed by, the Commissioners.

     (3)    Those paragraphs also do not apply to sums which, by or under any

enactment, are directed—

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           (a)           to be paid to or for the benefit of—

                  (i)                 the party aggrieved or injured or a person described in similar

terms, or

                  (ii)                the family or relatives of a person described in any such terms

or of a person dying in consequence of an act or event which

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constituted or was the occasion of an offence,

           (b)           to be applied in making good any default or repairing any damage or

reimbursing any expenses (other than those of the prosecution), or

           (c)           to be paid to any person, if the enactment refers in terms to awarding

or reimbursing a loss or to damages, compensation or satisfaction for

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loss, damage, injury or wrong.

     (4)    Paragraph (c) of section 33(1) does not apply to—

           (a)           sums to which a person other than the Lord Chancellor is by law

entitled and which are paid to that person, or

           (b)           sums received by a designated officer on account of his salary or

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expenses as such.

     (5)    Any sum paid to the Lord Chancellor by virtue of paragraph (c) of section 33(1)

is to be paid to him subject to being repaid to any person establishing his title

to it.

 

 

 
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