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Lord Goodhart: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, for their support. The noble Lord, Lord Borrie, described this as a technical breach. I do not believe that it is. Clause 42 validates a technical breach. It deals with the validation of decisions taken by justices who turn out to have been invalidly appointed

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because they were barred by the Act of Settlement. That invalidation of their appointment does nothing to show that they are in any way biased or likely to have a lack of ability to try a case as well as anyone who is authorised to do so. I have no objection to the passage in Clause 42 which validates decisions taken by magistrates who for that highly technical reason turn out to have been invalidly appointed.

I suggest that taking part in a decision by an interested party—for the purposes of the law—is never a technical breach. It must always give rise to the perception of a lack of impartiality. It is of course true to say that some such hearings may be interlocutory, but many interlocutory hearings may have an important bearing on the outcome of the case. We cannot divide hearings into interlocutory and substantive ones. So the subsection should be deleted. It may be true that those words have been present ever since the Justices of the Peace Act 1949, but now that we have the Human Rights Act 1998, we need to reconsider the matter. If we do so, we shall arrive at a different conclusion.

This is a significant amendment. I do not want to add further to the lengthy debate that we have held on two previous occasions, but I beg to test the opinion of the House.

4.41 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 16) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 141; Not-Contents, 122.

Division No. 2


Aberdare, L.
Ackner, L.
Addington, L. [Teller]
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Bradshaw, L.
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Chadlington, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Ezra, L.
Fearn, L.
Fowler, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Goodhart, L. [Teller]
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jacobs, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prior, L.
Pym, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Renton, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walmsley, B.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Windlesham, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jeger, B.
Jones, L.
Jordan, L.
Kilclooney, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Ouseley, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

19 May 2003 : Column 524

4.52 p.m.

Clause 42 [Effect of Act of Settlement on existing justices of the peace]:

Lord Goodhart moved Amendment No. 17:

    Page 21, line 4, after "2002" insert "or after the coming into force of this section"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the effect of Clause 42 is to validate appointments made before 31st January 2002 of foreign citizens as justices of the peace. Those appointments were not valid because of Section 3 of the Act of Settlement, something that was not realised until or around January 2002. I understand that although Section 3 of the Act of Settlement refers to people born outside the United Kingdom, it does not now apply to persons who are naturalised. Thus, people who become naturalised British citizens are eligible to be justices of the peace and to hold other judicial offices. However, nowadays many non-citizens living permanently or long-term in the United Kingdom would make excellent justices of the peace.

A parallel situation is that of my late father who, although an American citizen all his life, spent his working years in this country. During the Second World War he served as chairman of the Southern Region Price Regulation Committee, a post to which I imagine he would have been disqualified under the Act of Settlement if anyone had thought to look into it.

Under the terms of Clause 42, those who were invalidly appointed are now to be enabled to resume sitting, which is something that we welcome. However, I

19 May 2003 : Column 525

ask why we should not allow the appointment of non-citizens to continue? Surely we do not have so many candidates for the office of justice of the peace that we can afford to dispense with that group. I beg to move.

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