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Constitutional Reform Bill [HL]


Constitutional Reform Bill [HL]
Part 1 — Arrangements to replace office of Lord Chancellor

1

 

A

Bill

To

Make provision for replacing the office of Lord Chancellor, and to abolish that

office; to establish a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and to abolish the

appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords; to make provision about the

jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and the judicial

functions of the President of the Council; to make other provision about the

judiciary, their appointment and discipline; and for connected purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1

Arrangements to replace office of Lord Chancellor

The judiciary and courts

1       

Guarantee of continued judicial independence

(1)   

Ministers of the Crown and all with responsibility for matters relating to the

5

judiciary or otherwise to the administration of justice must uphold the

continued independence of the judiciary.

(2)   

The following particular duties are imposed for the purpose of upholding that

independence.

(3)   

Ministers of the Crown must not seek to influence particular judicial decisions

10

through any special access to the judiciary.

(4)   

The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (“the Minister”) must have

regard to—

(a)   

the need to defend that independence;

(b)   

the need for the judiciary to have the support necessary to enable them

15

to exercise their functions;

 
HL Bill 3053/3
 
 

Constitutional Reform Bill [HL]
Part 1 — Arrangements to replace office of Lord Chancellor

2

 

(c)   

the need for the public interest in regard to matters relating to the

judiciary or otherwise to the administration of justice to be properly

represented in decisions affecting those matters.

2       

President of the Courts of England and Wales

(1)   

The Lord Chief Justice holds the office of President of the Courts of England

5

and Wales.

(2)   

As President of the Courts of England and Wales he is responsible—

(a)   

for representing the views of the judiciary of England and Wales to

Parliament, to the Minister and to Ministers of the Crown generally;

(b)   

for the maintenance of appropriate arrangements for the welfare,

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training and guidance of the judiciary of England and Wales within the

resources made available by the Minister;

(c)   

for the maintenance of appropriate arrangements for the deployment of

the judiciary of England and Wales and the allocation of work within

courts.

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(3)   

The President of the Courts of England and Wales is president of the courts

listed in subsection (4) and is entitled to sit in any of those courts.

(4)   

The courts are—

   

the Court of Appeal

   

the High Court

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the Crown Court

   

the county courts

   

the magistrates’ courts.

(5)   

In section 1 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 (c. 54), subsection (2) (Lord

Chancellor to be president of the Supreme Court of England and Wales) ceases

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to have effect.

3       

Functions of the Lord Chancellor and organisation of the courts

Schedule 1 contains amendments which relate to—

(a)   

certain functions of the Lord Chancellor, or

(b)   

the organisation of the courts.

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4       

Head and Deputy Head of Criminal Justice

(1)   

There is to be a Head of Criminal Justice.

(2)   

The Head of Criminal Justice is—

(a)   

the Lord Chief Justice, or

(b)   

if the Lord Chief Justice appoints another person, that person.

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(3)   

The Lord Chief Justice may appoint a person to be Deputy Head of Criminal

Justice.

(4)   

The Lord Chief Justice must not appoint a person under subsection (2)(b) or (3)

unless these conditions are met—

(a)   

the Lord Chief Justice has consulted the Minister;

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(b)   

the person to be appointed is an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal.

 

 

Constitutional Reform Bill [HL]
Part 1 — Arrangements to replace office of Lord Chancellor

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(5)   

A person appointed under subsection (2)(b) or (3) holds the office to which he

is appointed in accordance with the terms of his appointment.

5       

Head and Deputy Head of Family Justice

(1)   

The President of the Family Division is Head of Family Justice.

(2)   

The Lord Chief Justice may appoint a person to be Deputy Head of Family

5

Justice.

(3)   

The Lord Chief Justice must not appoint a person under subsection (2) unless

these conditions are met—

(a)   

the Lord Chief Justice has consulted the Minister;

(b)   

the person to be appointed is an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal.

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(4)   

A person appointed as Deputy Head of Family Justice holds that office in

accordance with the terms of his appointment.

6       

Powers to make rules

(1)   

Part 1 of Schedule 2 sets out a process for the exercise of rule-making powers.

(2)   

Part 2 of the Schedule contains amendments of Acts that contain rule-making

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powers.

(3)   

Those amendments—

(a)   

provide for those powers to be exercised in accordance with the process

set out in Part 1 of the Schedule, and

(b)   

make consequential provision.

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7       

Powers to give directions

(1)   

Part 1 of Schedule 3 sets out a process for the exercise of powers to give

directions.

(2)   

Part 2 of the Schedule contains amendments of Acts that contain powers to give

directions.

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(3)   

Those amendments—

(a)   

provide for those powers to be exercised in accordance with the process

set out in Part 1 of the Schedule, and

(b)   

make consequential provision.

Appointments

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8       

Transfer of appointment functions

(1)   

Part 1 of Schedule 4

(a)   

provides for Her Majesty instead of the Lord Chancellor to make

appointments to certain offices, and

(b)   

makes other modifications to enactments relating to those offices.

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(2)   

Part 2 of Schedule 4

(a)   

provides for the Minister instead of the Lord Chancellor to make

appointments to certain offices, and

 

 

Constitutional Reform Bill [HL]
Part 1 — Arrangements to replace office of Lord Chancellor

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(b)   

makes other modifications to enactments relating to those offices.

The Great Seal

9       

The Great Seal

(1)   

The functions of the Lord Chancellor relating to the Great Seal are transferred

to the Minister.

5

(2)   

Schedule 5 makes consequential amendments and other amendments relating

to the keeper and commissioners of the Great Seal.

10      

Commissioners of the Great Seal

(1)   

The Great Seal Act 1688 ceases to have effect.

(2)   

Subsection (1) does not affect the power of Her Majesty to appoint

10

Commissioners of the Great Seal by letters patent under that seal.

(3)   

But the functions of Commissioners of the Great Seal are only those functions

conferred on the Minister by section 9 or Schedule 5 (subject to any limitation

in the Commission).

(4)   

Commissioners of the Great Seal who are not peers rank next after peers and

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the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Speakership of the House of Lords

11      

Speakership of the House of Lords

Schedule 6 contains amendments relating to the Speakership of the House of

Lords.

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Abolition of the office of Lord Chancellor

12      

Abolition of office of Lord Chancellor

The office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain is abolished (together with

the office of Lord Keeper of the Great Seal).

13      

Salary and pension

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(1)   

Schedule 7 is about the Lord Chancellor’s salary and pension.

(2)   

Part 1 contains amendments about salary and pension that are consequential

on the abolition of the office of Lord Chancellor.

(3)   

Part 2 contains special provision about the pension arrangements of the person

holding the office of Lord Chancellor at the time of its abolition.

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