Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 313, Amendment No. 314:


The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Minister has given us a very detailed and careful explanation of the complexities and we are grateful to the Government for their reaction to the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform. We were concerned about the need for the word "supplementary", because "incidental" and "consequential" covered everything that the Minister was talking about and "supplementary" seemed to take it a touch wider, especially when read in conjunction with line 6 "for giving full effect". That gave us cause for concern. However, given her explanation, if she could reassure us on that point, we would not press our amendment. We would be happy with her explanations and her amendment as currently drafted. I beg to move.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, as a member of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, I am extremely glad that the Minister accepted our suggestion. However, in relation to subsection (3) of Amendment No. 313, I was at school so long ago that I learned to parse sentences. I challenge the Minister to parse the sentence in subsection (3). It is all one sentence. It is extremely difficult to understand. I know that lawyers must ensure that other lawyers are necessary, but for an

30 Oct 2003 : Column 414

ordinary human being it is really extremely difficult to understand that sentence. Does the noble Baroness agree?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I had better declare an interest as a lawyer. In terms of parliamentary draftsman-speak, the amendment is drafted in a clear and proper way. I understand what the noble Baroness says. The only comfort I can offer is that it is likely that the people who will be most used to construing the provisions will be lawyers and at least they will understand the language.

In relation to the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, any supplemental, incidental or consequential provision will arise as a result of the changes in the respective Bills and how they impact upon each other. It will not be supplementary for any other reason. I hope that, by also adding the provision that that will be done by the affirmative procedure, that gives us "belt and braces". If there is any unhappiness, we have an opportunity to tease it out and put it to rest. With that explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will be content.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for her reply. As I said, we wanted to explore the use of the word "supplementary". We are perfectly happy with her explanation and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 314, as an amendment to Amendment No. 313, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Amendment No. 313 agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 315 to 317 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 219 [Orders and regulations]:

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts moved Amendment No. 317A:


    Page 121, line 29, at end insert—


"(4A) An order under section 217 which makes provision for any or all of the provisions of this Act to have effect in relation to any extradition proceedings that were commenced when the Extradition Act 1989 (c. 33) was for the time being in force, shall not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament."

The noble Lord said, My Lords, this amendment inserts a new subsection into Clause 219, which lays down procedures for the regulations that will establish the detailed procedures governing the operation of the Bill. The amendment is designed to clarify beyond peradventure the procedures with regard to cases that are in progress at the time of the commencement of the Act. The issue caused some concern in Committee and, to be candid, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, was not as persuasive or as clear as he normally is. It is vital that any confusion about under which system—old or new—a particular case falls should be eliminated.

We have received notes from Mr Clive Nicholls QC, an expert in the field of extradition. Much of what I say is dependent on his expertise, because he too is confused by the way in which the provisions are currently laid down. Clause 217 is a Henry VIII clause, leaving the Secretary of State to make provision for

30 Oct 2003 : Column 415

commencement. It is to be contrasted with an Act making express provision for commencement. In the debate in Grand Committee on 10th September, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin stated:


    "Clearly, the new legislation should apply to all requests".—[Official Report, 10/9/03; Col. GC 44.]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I hope that I will be able to give the noble Lord some pleasure and be able to foreshorten what he was about to say. I know that there was confusion about this matter, but I believe that I can make a welcome announcement to your Lordships that will obviate the need for this amendment. I should say at the outset that the Government's position is that the new legislation should apply to all requests received after the point at which the new Act comes into force. I rose to my feet because I know that the noble Lord may have wished to explore in some detail the reason why there needs to be clarity. I just want to share with him that we agree.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for those comments. The question on receipt is whether the request is received at the Foreign Office or the Home Office or at the time when the Secretary of State issues his authority or is ordered to proceed, signifying that he has received the request.

The concern has been made clear to us that some injustice and prejudice could be caused to an accused if there were a delay between these two events. I am not saying that it is necessarily deliberate—it might be, but it might be an administrative delay. Therefore, one was trying to ensure that there would be no delay of any kind. Perhaps the noble Baroness could clarify her definition of "received". I beg to move.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I know that it is unusual, but perhaps I may now explain the Government's understanding. The noble Lord will be able to hear it and consider whether he is content with our proposals.

The Government's position is that the new legislation should apply to all requests received after the point when the new Act comes into force. Therefore, if, as we hope, the new Act comes into force on 1st January 2004, a request received on 30th December 2003 will be handled under the 1989 Act procedure. A request received, for example, on 5th January 2004 will be handled under the new procedure.

I turn to the specifics of the amendment. Its effect would be to provide that any order which has the effect of transferring existing cases already in the system to the new arrangements should be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. I understand why the noble Lord's amendment was tabled. The Government are on record as saying that we might want to transfer a small number of cases already in the system to the new arrangements when they come into force. This power would have been used only sparingly and where it was in the interests of justice. Of course, the person concerned would have had the opportunity

30 Oct 2003 : Column 416

to mount a legal challenge to use it. Therefore, "received" means the first point when it is received by any UK authority.

Nevertheless, it became clear that the possibility of a case being transferred was causing a considerable amount of disquiet, of which this amendment is the latest manifestation. The Government have therefore reflected further on the matter and I am now in a position to give your Lordships the outcome of those deliberations. We have decided that no existing cases will be transferred to the new arrangements and that all cases already in the system when the new Act comes into force will continue to be dealt with under the 1989 procedures. I hope that that statement is unequivocal and unambiguous. I hope, too, that noble Lords will welcome it as a helpful clarification.

Under the terms of the Bill, the case transfer could have been achieved in one of two ways; by using a commencement order or by using a designation order. In either case, an order would have been necessary. It could not have been achieved purely administratively. So your Lordships need not fear that we might try to get away with any case of that kind. It would require an order and no such order will be made. I hope therefore that the noble Lord will feel that it is not necessary to pursue his amendment and that as a matter of general policy, it would be an unusual amendment to make. As I am sure your Lordships are aware, making commencement orders subject to affirmative resolution procedure would be virtually unprecedented.

I hope that I have said enough to make the noble Lord feel comfortable, but if he needs further clarification, I shall be happy to give it.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that helpful reply. I am comforted by the fact that she has defined "received" as being by any UK authority, so there is no question of any administrative slip-up. She has also given the commitment that no existing cases will be transferred from one procedure to the other. Given those two assurances, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 317A.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page