Report stage and third reading of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill

03 November 2011

The House of Commons held the third day of the report stage and third reading of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill on Wednesday 2 November. The first and second days of consideration took place on Monday 31 October and Tuesday 1 November.

Summary of the Bill

The Bill covers a wide range of issues. It comprises four parts and 16 schedules. Part 1 makes provisions on legal aid, Part 2 deals with litigation funding and costs, and Part 3 covers sentencing and the punishment of offenders.

Key areas are:

  • reverses the position under the Access to Justice Act 1999, whereby civil legal aid is available for any matter not specifically excluded. The Bill takes some types of case out of scope for legal aid funding and provides that cases would not be eligible for funding unless of a type specified in the Bill
  • abolishes the Legal Services Commission
  • makes various provisions in respect of civil litigation funding and costs, taking forward the recommendations of the Jackson Review and the Government’s response to that review
  • makes changes to sentencing provisions, including giving courts an express duty (rather than the current power) to consider making compensation orders where victims have suffered harm or loss; reducing the detailed requirements on courts when they give reasons for a sentence; allowing courts to suspend sentences of up to two years rather than 12 months; and amending the court’s power to suspend a prison sentence
  • introduces new powers to allow curfews to be imposed for more hours in the day and for up to 12 months rather than the current six.

Progress of the Bill

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 21 June 2011 and received second reading on 29 June 2011. The Bill was considered in a Public Bill Committee between 12 July to 13 October 2011.

The report stage took place over three days betwen Monday 31 October and Wednesday 2 November. Third reading took place on Wednesday 2 November. The Bill has passed all its Commons stages and will now be introduced into the House of Lords for consideration.

Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documentation, including amendment papers, on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. Also find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produce briefing papers to inform MPs of key issues. The Library published briefing papers for second reading and a report on the committee stage.

Report stage proceedings

Monday 31 October: Day one

MPs considered in the following order; Amendments 10, 80, 11, 92, 74, 55-58, 142, 59-62, 12-14, 63 and 15-18.

Amendment 10 was agreed to without a division.

Amendment 80 was by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment 11 was agreed to without a division.

Amendment 92 was negatived on a division (Ayes 237; Noes 305)

Amendment 74 was negatived on a division (Ayes 232; Noes 305)

Amendments 55-58 were agreed to without a division.

Amendment 142 was negatived on a division (Ayes 229; Noes 300)

Amendments 59-62, 12-14, 63 and 15-18 were agreed to without a division.

Watch and read the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Tuesday 1 November: Day two

MPs considered in the following order; New Clauses 30-34, New Schedules 4-7, New Clauses 18-25, 27 and 26.

New Clauses 30-34 and New Schedules 4-7 relate to sentences of imprisonment or detention for public protection, life sentences, extended sentences and the release and recall of extended sentence prisoners. New Clause 30 was added to the Bill on a division (Ayes 311; Noes 235). New Clauses 31-34 were added to the Bill without a division.

New Clause 18 which relates to rules against referral fees was added to the Bill without a division. An amendment (e) to the clause was negatived on a division (Ayes 208; Noes 302).

New Clauses 19-22 relate to referral fees and were all added to the Bill without a division.

New Clauses 23-25 relate to fines on conviction in Magistrates' Courts and were all added to the Bill without a division.

New Clause 27 relates to reasonable force for the purposes of self-defence and was added to the Bill without a division.

New Clause 26 relates to squatting in a residential building and was agreed to with a division (Ayes 283; Noes 13). An amendment (a) to the clause was negatived on a division (Ayes 23; Noes 300).

Watch and read the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Wednesday 2 November: Day three

MPs considered in the following order; New Clauses 4, 9 and 17, New Schedule 3, Amendments 116, 1-2, 25-27, 64-65, 137, 66-68, 138, 19, 163, 75-78, 3-9, 28-50, 154-157, 133-135, 51-54, 136, 20, 158-161 and 139-141.

New Clause 4 relates to the status of Director and Lord Chancellor and was added to the Bill without a division.

New Clause 9 relates to Northern Ireland and information about financial resources and was added to the Bill without a division.

New Clause 17 relates to extension of scope of legal aid in complex cases and was negatived on a division (Ayes 238; Noes 301).

New Schedule 3 relates to Northern Ireland and information about financial resources and was added to the Bill without a division.

Amendment 116 was negatived on a division (Ayes 233; Noes 298).

Amendments 1-2, 25-27, 64-65, 137, 66-68, 138 and 19 were agreed without a division.

Amendment 21 was negatived on a division (Ayes 223; Noes 315).

Amendment 163 was negatived on a division (Ayes 222; Noes 305).

Amendments 75-78, 3-9, 28-50, 154-157, 133-135, 51-54, 136, 20, 158-161 and 139-141 were agreed without a division.

The Bill recieved its third reading after a division (Ayes 306; Noes 228). The Bill will now be considered by the House of Lords.

Watch and read the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Report stage and third reading

The report stage gives MPs an opportunity, on the floor of the House, to consider further amendments (proposals for change) to a Bill which has been examined in committee.

There is no set time period between the end of committee stage and the start of the report stage.

What happens at report stage?

All MPs may speak and vote, for lengthy or complex Bills the debates may be spread over several days. All MPs can suggest amendments to the Bill or new clauses (parts) they think should be added.

What happens after report stage?

Report stage is usually followed immediately by debate on the Bill's third reading.

What happens at third reading?

Debate on the Bill is usually short, and limited to what is actually in the Bill, rather than, as at second reading, what might have been included.

Amendments (proposals for change) cannot be made to a Bill at third reading in the Commons.

At the end of the debate, the House decides (votes on) whether to approve the third reading of the Bill.

What happens after third reading?

If the Bill started in the Commons it goes to the House of Lords for its first reading. If the Bill started in the Lords it will return to the House of Lords for consideration of any amendments the Commons have made.

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