Legal Aid Bill: Lords report stage day four

14 March 2012

The House of Lords continues report stage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill with more detailed examination of the bill today (Wednesday 14 March)

Members are expected to start the debate with scrutiny of the Lord Chancellor's role and the provision of a code of conduct with proposed changes to Clauses 26, 38 and 40.

Lord Beecham (Labour) will suggest a new clause in Amendment 132A which establishes one-way cost-shifting in civil litigation.

Lord Bach's Amendments 132AA and 132AB will cover claims for damages for respiratory and industrial disease cases in two proposed new clauses. 

Report stage day three: Monday 12 March

Lord Bach's (Labour) Amendment 74 to Schedule One focused on the role of civil legal services for immigration and asylum cases. He said: 'The main point of providing legal aid for immigration matters is to ensure that this complex, sensitive and highly regulated system functions.'

Members voted on the amendment which resulted in a government win with 179 'for' (content) and 198 'against' (not content) the change.

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Labour) moved Amendment 74A to Schedule One looking at 'civil legal services in relation to any debt management relief or remedy available under Part Five of the Courts, Tribunals and Enforcement Act 2007'.

In the vote that followed 151 members supported and 194 members opposed the amendment.

Report stage so far

The last stage: Committee stage

The 10-day committee stage (last stage) concluded on Wednesday 15 February.

What is report stage?

Report stage in the chamber gives all members of the Lords further opportunity to consider all amendments (proposals for change) to a bill. It usually starts at least 14 days after committee stage. It can be spread over several days (but usually fewer days than at committee stage).

Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of a bill takes place during report stage. Voting can take place and any member can take part.

Before report stage takes place

  • The day before report stage starts, amendments are published in a Marshalled List – in which all the amendments are placed in order.
  • On the day, amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a list (“groupings of amendments”) is published.

The bill's progress so far

The previous stage of this bill to be completed in the Lords was the second reading, which took place on 21 November 2011.

What is the committee stage?

During committee stage, detailed line-by-line examination of separate clauses and schedules of the bill takes place. Any member of the Lords can take part. It can last for one or two days to eight or more. This stage usually starts no fewer than two weeks after the second reading.

Some key areas of the bill:

  • The bill takes certain types of case out of scope for legal aid funding and provides that cases would not be eligible for funding unless specified in the bill.
  • It abolishes the Legal Services Commission.
  • It makes various provisions in respect of civil litigation funding and costs, taking forward the recommendations of the Jackson Review.
  • It makes changes to sentencing provisions, 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.
  • It 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.

Further information

 Image: iStock photo

More news on: Crime, civil law, justice and rights, Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, Civil law, Legal aid, Crime, Criminal law, House of Lords news, Lords news, Bill news

Share this page