Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Baronesses, Lady Anelay and Lady Seccombe, for their amendment, whose aim I entirely support and agree with. The partnership between judges, magistrates and the agency is fundamental to the work of the courts; therefore, good communication at all levels is essential. However, the noble Baronesses' amendment places an unqualified obligation on the Lord Chancellor to consult magistrates. Such a broad remit would have left the noble and learned Lord open to judicial review for, for example, not consulting every individual magistrate. Our amendment offers magistrates a guarantee that they will be kept informed of matters affecting them, and they will be given the opportunity to give their views.
I am particularly grateful to the Magistrates' Association for its constructive discussion of the matter and its support for the amendment. In due course, I shall beg to move Amendment No. 50.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I thank the Minister and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 24:
Before Schedule 1, insert the following new schedule
"CONSTITUTION AND PROCEDURE OF COURTS BOARDSConstitution
1 The members of each courts board are to be appointed by the Lord Chancellor.
2 Each board must have
(a) at least one member who is a judge,
(b) at least one member who is a lay justice who is assigned to a local justice area the whole or a part of which is included in the board's area,
(c) at least two other members who are persons appearing to the Lord Chancellor to have appropriate knowledge or experience of the work of the courts in the area for which the board acts, and
(d) at least two more members who are persons appearing to the Lord Chancellor to be representative of people living in that area,
and may have such other members of a description mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) as the Lord Chancellor considers appropriate.
3 Regulations may make provision in relation to the appointment of members of courts boards, including in particular provision about the procedures to be followed in connection with appointments.
8 May 2003 : Column 1213
4 Regulations may make provision as to the selection of one of the members of each courts board to be its chairman.
Tenure of office
5 (1) Regulations may make provision as to
(a) the term of office of chairmen and members of courts boards;
(b) their resignation, suspension or removal.
(2) Subject to the regulations, a person is to hold and vacate office as a member of a courts board in accordance with the terms of the instrument appointing him.
Payments in respect of expenses, etc.
6 The Lord Chancellor may make such payments to or in respect of members of courts boards by way of reimbursement of expenses, allowances and remuneration as he may determine.
7 Regulations may make provision about
(a) the procedure of courts boards (including quorum);
(b) the validation of proceedings in the event of a vacancy among the members of a courts board or a defect in the appointment of a member.
8 In this Schedule "regulations" means regulations made by the Lord Chancellor."
Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 24, Amendment No. 25:
Line 8, leave out "one member who is a lay justice who is" and insert "two members who are lay justices who are"
The noble Lord said: My Lords, we discussed this matter at some length in Committee and earlier this morning. I am not persuaded by the reasons given by the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland of Asthal, for not agreeing that two members of the board should be magistrates. They will be overwhelmingly the main carriers of business as between Crown Courts, county courts and magistrates' courts. The magistrates' courts will, I imagine, carry 80 to 90 per cent of the business. Accordingly, I will test the opinion of the House.
On Question, Whether Amendment No. 25, as an amendment to Amendment No. 24, shall be agreed to?
Their Lordships divided: Contents, 95; Not-Contents, 85.
Division No. 2
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Colville of Culross, V.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L. [Teller]
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Wright of Richmond, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment No. 25, as an amendment to Amendment No. 24, agreed to accordingly.
8 May 2003 : Column 1215
On Question, Amendment No. 24, as amended, agreed to.
Schedule 1 [Abolition of magistrates' courts committees: transfers]:
Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 26:
Page 54, line 11, after "with," insert "or are otherwise attributable to"
The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 are put forward to add greater clarity and certainty to paragraph 1 of Schedule 1, relating to the transfer of property. We have reviewed the provisions in Schedule 1 and put forward Amendments Nos. 26 and 27 to ensure that all the various categories of property, which should by virtue of paragraph 1(1) be transferred to the Lord Chancellor or another Minister of the Crown, may be included in a property transfer scheme.
Paragraph 8A of Amendment No. 29 is, in substance, the same as existing paragraph 13 but, again, it is a clarifying provision. Similarly, Amendment No. 30 is tabled to improve the drafting and clarity of that provision. Amendment No. 31 is consequential to the other amendments made to this schedule. I beg to move.
On Question, amendment agreed to.