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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I shall certainly think about that matter. It is because the magistrates have such a powerful voice in the magistrates' courts that we want that voice to be heard more widely. The noble and learned Lord will know that they are part of the system, not just for the criminal courts but also for the family and other jurisdictions. There are many problems that do not stop at the magistrates' court; they go on to be heard in county and Crown Courts. We need just as clearly to hear the magistrates' courts' voice in those courts because the magistrates deal with these issues on a day-to-day basis.

In order to have a joined-up system we have to encourage the whole of the judiciary, which includes the magistracy, to come together so that they can listen to one another and, it is to be hoped, speak with one voice at the local level. I absolutely agree with the noble and learned Lord that the magistrates should not feel locked out; but I must say to him most respectfully that I should like to lock them in a bit further.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken. Because of the lateness of the hour perhaps the Committee will forgive me if I do not do proper justice to their contributions. I first put on the record that the Minister has satisfied me as regards Amendment No. 5. I shall not be returning to that matter.

The mainstay of the argument was on this crucial matter of the courts agency. I did bear very much in mind throughout the debate the point made by my noble friend Lord Waddington that of course it is the principal statutory foundation that really is at the core of the debate. At this stage it is clear that some Members of the Committee on this side and perhaps one or two on the other side occasionally too, have a difference of view on this matter of principle, given that we are moving into uncharted waters.

There is only one matter to which I shall refer at this late stage. The Minister has kindly said that she will look more carefully at the debate and the concerns

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expressed by noble Lords and whether further clarification may be achieved. I am not sure that we can overcome our difference of principle, in particular because I was concerned about the Minister's reference to the nature of consultation about guidelines.

The Minister's definition of "consultation" is interesting. It seemed to be that, having talked to everyone, if they said something with which the Government did not agree or which was not in the Auld report, they would not accept it. The noble Baroness said they would choose Auld. I remind the Minister that the Government have not taken everything from the Auld report and put it in this Bill or indeed in the Criminal Justice Bill.

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I shall look carefully at her words today. I shall consult further with those who have advised me from the real world, perhaps outside this Chamber and I shall return with a more carefully reasoned amendment on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Lord Grocott: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

        House adjourned at a quarter past ten o'clock.


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