Unopposed Bill Committee Minutes of Evidence

Sections 420-439

London Local Authorities Bill [HL]

Tuesday 18 February 2003

420. MR LEWIS: Yes.

421. CHAIRMAN: Can we have that?

422. MR LEWIS: Yes.

423. CHAIRMAN: I know you are objecting to ----

(Mr Jones) We object to the other elements dealing with litter and dog fouling.

424. CHAIRMAN: And, indeed, the setting of fixed penalties.

425. MR LEWIS: That is only in relation to littering and dog fouling.

426. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Are there any more questions or would anybody like to say anything more on these clauses?

427. LORD ELTON: Just a very small question. On page 17 at (4) we have an encouragement to send money by post in a letter containing the amount of the penalty in cash or otherwise, which is something that everyone else encourages us not to do. Is this taken from other legislation? Why is that in?

428. MR LEWIS: I believe it is taken straight from the litter legislation but I can check that because we have that.

429. LORD ELTON: If it is precedented I would not object but if it is a new idea I should have thought it is a bad idea.

430. LORD TORDOFF: Even if it is precedented, is it necessary?

(Mr Jones) There is a precedent for that in the Environmental Protection Act.

431. CHAIRMAN: Which is a relatively recent Act.

(Mr Jones) 1990.

(Mr Lester) I think under any circumstances we have to retain the provision for anybody who receives a penalty to pay for it in cash, if that is the way they wish to pay for it.

432. LORD ELTON: Not necessarily by post.

(Mr Lester) Not necessarily by post.

433. MR LEWIS: I see the point you are making, the fact that the words are there might encourage people who would otherwise not use cash to use cash.

434. LORD TORDOFF: "Containing the amount of the penalty" full stop.

435. MR LEWIS: We would be happy to remove those words in parenthesis. I do not think that the clause would be affected prejudicially if they were removed.

436. CHAIRMAN: We will leave that with you. Thank you very much everybody on those clauses. So we move now on to a new area, the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority, Clause 30, I think.

The witnesses withdrew

437. MR LEWIS: Yes, my Lord. My Lord, Clause 30, Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority. This clause is another one which has been somewhat overtaken by events. In short, what this clause does is remedy what we believe the Government acknowledges is an existing deficiency in the magistrates' court legislation under section 59B of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997. Regulations under that section deal with the way in which the Greater London Magistrates' Court Authority is financed. It was the original intention of the Government, I believe, that the proportions which the councils should have to pay to the GLMCA should somehow be related to council tax income. However, section 59B does not enable regulations to be made along those lines. This clause will enable that to change.

438. However, as your Lordships will know, the Courts Bill is currently before your House and one of the proposals within that Bill is to repeal Section 59B. Now, I think it is fair to assume that the Courts Bill will reach the statute book before the London Local Authorities Bill, but what is not so certain is when the relevant provision which repeals section 59B will come into force. If there is any possibility that the implementation of that provision is delayed so that Clause 30 could take effect, even if only for a short period of tine, then the Promoters would rather leave the clause in.

439. There have been no Government reports against this clause and, in fact, I can report that before the Bill was deposited the clause was approved by the Lord Chancellor's Department.

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