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Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I welcome the government amendments. As a result of seeing those, I withdrew my amendment to Schedule 1, which went rather broader than the government amendments. However, it was intended only as a device to try to stimulate debate. The Government not only have the debate but the amendment. I support them.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 6 not moved.]

Clause 4 [Establishment of court administration councils]:

[Amendments Nos. 7 to 17 not moved.]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 18:



"ESTABLISHMENT OF COURTS BOARDS
(1) England and Wales is to be divided into areas for each of which there is to be a courts board.
(2) The areas are to be those specified by an order made by the Lord Chancellor.
(3) Each area established by an 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 the areas.
(5) "Altering", in relation to an area, includes (as well as changing its boundaries)—
(a) combining it with one or more other areas,
(b) dividing it between two or more other areas, and
(c) changing its name.
(6) Before making an order under subsection (4), the Lord Chancellor must consult any courts board affected by the proposed order.

8 May 2003 : Column 1209


(7) Schedule (Constitution and procedure of courts boards) contains provisions about the constitution and procedure of courts boards."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 19, as an amendment to Amendment No. 18, not moved.]

Clause 5 [Role of court administration councils]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 20:


    Leave out Clause 5 and insert the following new Clause—


"FUNCTIONS OF COURTS BOARDS
(1) Each courts board is under a duty, in accordance with guidance under this section—
(a) to scrutinise, review and make recommendations about the way in which the Lord Chancellor is discharging his general duty in relation to the courts with which the board is concerned, and
(b) for the purposes mentioned in paragraph (a), to consider draft and final business plans relating to those courts.
(2) In discharging his general duty in relation to the courts, the Lord Chancellor must give due consideration to recommendations provided by the boards under subsection (1).
(3) The courts with which a courts board is concerned are—
(a) the Crown Court,
(b) county courts, and
(c) magistrates' courts,
in the board's area.
(4) The Lord Chancellor must prepare and issue the boards with guidance about how they should carry out their functions under subsection (1).
(5) The guidance may in particular contain provisions—
(a) about the procedures to be followed in connection with draft and final business plans;
(b) conferring on the boards functions supplementing their functions under subsection (1).
(6) The Lord Chancellor may from time to time issue the boards with revised guidance and revoke previous guidance.
(7) Guidance issued under this section must be laid before both Houses of Parliament."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 21, as an amendment to Amendment No. 20, not moved.]

Lord Goodhart moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 20, Amendment No. 22:


    Line 12, at end insert—


"(2A) If the Lord Chancellor rejects a recommendation made by a courts board about a final business plan under subsection (1) he shall give to the board written reasons for so doing."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is an important amendment. The noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, gave reasons for rejecting it. I was not convinced by them. There would not be any practical difficulty in deciding which the relevant recommendations were because I believe that it will be obvious. The final business plan will be put forward as a final draft and submitted to the Lord Chancellor for approval. In those circumstances, I shall not repeat what I said earlier, but I wish to test the opinion of the House.

8 May 2003 : Column 1210

12.26 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 22) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 98; Not-Contents, 83.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.
Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chan, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Crathorne, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Falkland, V.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fookes, B.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L. [Teller]
Greenway, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Home, E.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hylton, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Liverpool, E.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Patten, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prior, L.
Quinton, L.
Reay, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Roper, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saatchi, L.
Sandwich, E.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stern, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Jones, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mitchell, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment No. 22, as an amendment to Amendment No. 20, agreed to accordingly.

8 May 2003 : Column 1211

12.36 p.m.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 23:


    After Clause 5, insert the following new clause—


"DUTIES OF A JUSTICE
( ) The Lord Chancellor shall consult the magistrates for local justice areas on any matters relating to the duties of a justice.
( ) Rules may make provision for the purposes of this section."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 23. It was tabled after consultation with the Magistrates' Association. Its objective is to provide a method by which there is guaranteed consultation of magistrates by the Lord Chancellor on any matters relating to the duties of a justice. I very much welcome the Government's amendment. I know that they took care over the past two or three weeks to reach a form of drafting that would be more suitable than mine.

I hope that noble Lords will excuse me if I point out briefly that the reasons for the Magistrates' Association wanting to include the provision on the face of the Bill was that it felt that Benches need to be consulted and informed about how the courts are organised. It is a matter of general good working relationships between the new courts agency and all levels of the judiciary, paid and unpaid, in a particular area. It pointed out that it is not enough for local administrators and court staff to be the only ones in the loop. It believes that, once that is recognised, the unified administration must work with magistrates to enable them to work efficiently at local level.

8 May 2003 : Column 1212

I am grateful to the Government for tabling their amendment. I thought that it was not appropriate at such a late stage to withdraw mine, as it would not have been possible to produce reprints of the Marshalled List. Although I beg to move, I look forward to withdrawing the amendment.


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