(1) Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into force in accordance with provision
made by order by the Lord Chancellor.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to section 37, 96, 97, 98(3) to (6), this section or
section 100 or 101.
(3) An order under this section may appoint different days for different provisions
and different purposes.
(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), this Act extends only to England and Wales.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to section 54(3), 85, 86, 92, 93, 94 or 95.
(3) Subject to any provision made in Schedule 6, the amendments and repeals
made by Schedules 4, 6 and 7 have the same extent as the enactments to which
101 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Courts Act 2003.
Abolition of magistrates’ courts committees: transfers
Property transfer schemes: general
1 (1) The Lord Chancellor may make a scheme or schemes for the transfer to him
or another Minister of the Crown of any property, rights or liabilities—
(a) to which magistrates’ courts committees are entitled or subject
immediately before the appointed day, or
(b) to which any of the persons specified in sub-paragraph (2) is entitled
or subject immediately before the appointed day and which then
subsist for the purposes of, or in connection with, magistrates’
(2) The persons are—
(a) an authority which is a responsible authority for the purposes of the
Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (c. 25);
(b) the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District;
(c) the council of an outer London borough;
(d) the Common Council of the City of London;
(e) a police authority established under section 3 of the Police Act 1996
(f) a local probation board;
(g) any other body which acts under any enactment or instrument for
public purposes and not for its own profit.
(3) In this Schedule “property transfer scheme” means a scheme under sub-
(4) “The appointed day” means—
(a) in the case of the transfer of property, rights or liabilities to which
magistrates’ courts committees are entitled or subject, the day
immediately before the abolition day;
(b) in any other case, the day specified in the scheme.
(5) On the day which is the appointed day in relation to property, rights or
liabilities to which provisions of a property transfer scheme applies, the
property, rights and liabilities are transferred and vest in accordance with
(6) In this Schedule “the abolition day” means the day appointed under section
99(1) for the coming into force of section 6(1) (abolition of magistrates’ courts
Property transfer schemes and terminated contracts of employment
2 A property transfer scheme may not transfer rights or liabilities under a
contract of employment, except where the rights or liabilities—
(a) are those to which a magistrates’ court committee is entitled or
(b) relate to a person whose contract of employment was terminated
before the appointed day.
Property transfer schemes: supplementary
3 (1) A property transfer scheme may provide for the creation of rights, or the
imposition of liabilities, in relation to property transferred by the scheme.
(2) A property transfer scheme may provide for the apportionment or division
of any property, rights or liabilities.
(3) A property transfer scheme may—
(a) specify property, rights or liabilities to be transferred under or in
accordance with the scheme, or
(b) provide for property, rights or liabilities to be transferred to be
determined in accordance with the scheme.
4 (1) A property transfer scheme has effect in relation to the property, rights and
liabilities to which it applies despite any provision (of whatever nature)
which would otherwise prevent, penalise or restrict the transfer of any of the
property, rights and liabilities.
(2) A right of pre-emption, right of reverter or other similar right is not to
operate or become exercisable as a result of a transfer under a property
(3) In the case of such a transfer, any such right has effect as if the transferee
were the same person in law as the transferor and as if the transfer had not
5 (1) Such compensation as is just is to be paid to a third party in respect of any
right which would, apart from paragraph 4, have operated in favour of, or
become exercisable by, him but which, in consequence of the operation of
that paragraph, cannot subsequently operate in his favour or become
exercisable by him.
(2) Any compensation payable by virtue of sub-paragraph (1) is to be paid by
the transferor, by the transferee or by both.
(3) A property transfer scheme may provide for the determination of any
disputes as to—
(a) whether, and (if so) how much, compensation is payable by virtue of
sub-paragraph (1), and
(b) the person to whom or by whom it is to be paid.
(4) “Third party” means a person other than the transferor or the transferee.
6 Paragraphs 4 and 5 apply in relation to the creation of rights in relation to
property as they apply in relation to a transfer of property; and references to
the transferor and the transferee are to be read accordingly.
7 A certificate issued by the Lord Chancellor that any property, rights or
liabilities have, or have not, been transferred under or in accordance with a
7 property transfer scheme is conclusive evidence of the transfer, or of the fact
that there has not been a transfer.
8 (1) Stamp duty is not chargeable in respect of a transfer or grant effected under
or in accordance with a property transfer scheme.
(2) No instrument made or executed for the purposes of such a transfer or grant
is to be treated as duly stamped unless—
(a) it has, in accordance with section 12 of the Stamp Act 1891 (c. 39),
been stamped with a particular stamp denoting that it is not
chargeable with that duty or that it is duly stamped, or
(b) it is stamped with the duty to which it would be liable, apart from
Staff transfer schemes
9 (1) The Lord Chancellor may make a scheme or schemes for the transfer, on the
appointed day, of eligible employees into employment by the Lord
(2) In this Schedule “staff transfer scheme” means a scheme under sub-
(3) “The appointed day” means the day immediately before the abolition day.
(4) “Eligible employee” means a person who is employed under a contract of
(a) by a magistrates’ courts committee, or
(b) by an authority which is a responsible authority for the purposes of
the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (c. 25), in connection with their
functions under that Act.
(5) A staff transfer scheme may apply—
(a) to all, or any description of, eligible employees, or
(b) to any individual eligible employee.
(6) A staff transfer scheme may only be made if any directions about
consultation given by the Lord Chancellor have been complied with in
relation to each eligible employee to be transferred under the scheme.
(7) Where an eligible employee is transferred under a staff transfer scheme—
(a) the terms and conditions of his contract of employment have effect
from the transfer as if they were terms and conditions of his
employment under section 2(1),
(b) his period of employment with his previous employer counts as a
period of employment under section 2(1) and the transfer does not
break the continuity of that employment,
(c) all the rights, powers, duties and liabilities of the previous employer
under or in connection with the contract of employment are by virtue
of this sub-paragraph transferred to the Lord Chancellor on the
(d) anything done before the transfer by or in relation to the previous
employer in respect of that contract or the employee is to be treated
from the transfer as having been done by or in relation to the Lord
(8) If an eligible employee to whom a staff transfer scheme applies informs his
previous employer or the Lord Chancellor that he objects to being
transferred by the scheme—
(a) sub-paragraph (7) does not transfer his contract of employment or
the rights, powers, duties and liabilities under or in connection with
(b) his contract of employment is terminated immediately before the
(9) An eligible employee is not to be treated, for the purposes of the
Employment Rights Act 1996 (c. 18), as having been dismissed by reason
(a) his transfer under a staff transfer scheme, or
(b) the termination of his contract of employment by sub-paragraph (8).
(10) If an eligible employee employed by a magistrates’ courts committee is not
transferred under a staff transfer scheme (otherwise than because of sub-
paragraph (8)), his contract of employment is terminated by dismissal
immediately before the appointed day.
(11) This paragraph does not prejudice any right of an employee to terminate his
contract of employment if a substantial change is made to his detriment in
his working conditions; but no such right arises by reason only that, by
virtue of this paragraph, the identity of his employer changes unless the
employee shows that, in all the circumstances, the change is a significant
change and is to his detriment.
Effect of staff transfer scheme on pension rights
10 (1) A staff transfer scheme may provide that, in the case of an employee of any
specified description who is transferred by the scheme, paragraph 9(7) does
not apply in relation to—
(a) so much of the employee’s contract of employment as relates to
specified pension provisions, or
(b) any rights, powers, duties or liabilities under or in connection with
that contract, or otherwise arising in connection with the employee's
employment, and relating to such provisions.
(2) If a staff transfer scheme makes the provision mentioned in sub-paragraph
(1), the scheme may, in relation to any such employee, make such provision
(if any) as the Lord Chancellor considers appropriate with respect to all or
any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) of that sub-
(3) The provision which may be made by virtue of sub-paragraph (2) includes
(a) for any such employee’s contract of employment with the transferee
to have effect with any specified modifications;
(b) for specified pension provisions to have effect in the case of any such
employee with any such modifications.
(4) “Specified” means specified in the staff transfer scheme.
Continuing provision of court-houses, accommodation etc.
11 (1) The Lord Chancellor may by regulations provide that any petty sessional
court-house or other accommodation specified in the regulations which
immediately before the abolition day was being provided by—
(a) the council of an outer London borough, or
(b) the Common Council of the City of London,
pursuant to regulations made under paragraph 35 of Schedule 14 to the
Access to Justice Act 1999 (c. 22) shall on and after that day be provided by
that council to the Lord Chancellor for the performance of his functions
under section 3.
(2) Regulations under sub-paragraph (1) may—
(a) prescribe terms and conditions, including conditions as to payment,
on which any court-house or other accommodation is to be provided,
(b) prohibit a council providing a court-house or other accommodation
under sub-paragraph (1) from altering or extending it without the
consent of the Lord Chancellor.
12 It is the duty of each person falling within paragraph 1(1)(a) or (2) to provide
the Lord Chancellor with such information or assistance as he may
reasonably require for the purposes of, or in connection with, the exercise of
any powers exercisable by him in relation to a scheme under this Schedule.
Supplementary provisions in scheme
13 Any scheme under this Schedule may make such supplemental,
consequential or transitional provision for the purposes of, or in connection
with, a transfer made by the scheme as the Lord Chancellor considers
Collection of fines by fines officers
Application of Schedule
1 (1) This Schedule applies if—
(a) a person (“P”) is liable to pay a sum which—
(i) consists of or includes a fine, and
(ii) is or is treated for the purposes of Part 3 of the 1980 Act as a
sum adjudged to be paid by conviction of a magistrates’
(b) sub-paragraph (4) or (5) applies to P.
(2) In this Schedule “the sum due” means the sum adjudged to be paid as
mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(a).
(3) In this Schedule “fine” does not include any pecuniary penalty, pecuniary
forfeiture or pecuniary compensation payable on conviction.
(4) This sub-paragraph applies to P if, under section 75(1) of the 1980 Act, a
magistrates’ court has decided to—
(a) allow time for payment of the sum due, or
(b) order payment by instalments of the sum due.
(5) This sub-paragraph applies to P if, under section 139(1) or 141 of the 2000
Act, the Crown Court has decided to—
(a) allow time for payment of the sum due, or
(b) order (or direct) payment by instalments of the sum due.
Court’s power to make a collection order
2 (1) Where this Schedule applies, the court may make an order in relation to P (a
“collection order”) that payment of the sum due is to be enforced through
the fines collection scheme.
(2) The collection order must—
(a) identify the fines officer who is to have the powers conferred by this
(b) state the amount of the sum due, the amount of the fine and the
amount of any other part of the sum due,
(c) state the initial terms of the order, and
(d) contain information about how the fines collection scheme works.
(3) “The initial terms of the order” means—
(a) if the court has decided that time should be allowed for payment, the
period within which the sum due is required to be paid;
(b) if the court has decided that P should pay by instalments, the
amounts of the instalments and the dates on which they must be
(4) If P is subject to a collection order—
(a) the fines collection scheme applies to him, and
(b) the powers of any court to deal with his liability to pay the sum due
are subject to the provisions of the scheme.
(5) “The fines collection scheme” means—
(a) this Schedule, and
(b) regulations made by the Lord Chancellor for the purpose of giving
effect to it (“fines collection regulations”).
Identification of the fines officer
3 (1) The collection order may identify the fines officer by giving the address of a
(2) If it does so, any fines officer working in the fines office is to be treated as the
fines officer in relation to the collection order.