Criminal Justice and Courts Bill returns to the Lords

22 January 2015

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill returned to the Lords for consideration of Commons' changes on Wednesday 21 January.

Members of the Lords agreed to a government amendment requiring the approval of both Houses before males under the age of 15 and females can be placed in secure colleges.

Proposals to ensure courts retain a discretion, rather than a duty, in relation to information about the financing of a judicial review application were also agreed.  

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill has now completed its journey through Parliament. A date for royal assent, when the bill becomes law, is yet to be scheduled.  

Consideration of Commons' amendments: Tuesday 9 December

The first vote concerned secure colleges, part of the government’s new model of youth custody, and specifically whether males under the age of 15 and females should be placed in secure colleges. Members voted by 304 votes to 240 to prevent such people from being placed in secure colleges, so the change was reinstated.

Members then considered the part of the bill that sets out the circumstances in which an application for judicial review can proceed to a full hearing. A proposal to retain greater judicial discretion to consider the circumstances of individual cases went to a vote. Members voted 274 in favour and 205 against, so the change was reinstated.

A proposal to ensure that courts retain a discretion, rather than a duty, in relation to information about the financing of a judicial review application then went to vote. The change was reinstated after members voted 210 in favour and 192 against.

The final vote concerned the costs of interveners in judicial review proceedings, and sought to retain greater discretion for the court over who should pay those costs. Members voted 160 in favour and 190 against, so the change was not reinstated.

Lords third reading: Monday 10 November

Members of Lords discussed a proposal for the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on recall adjudicators – specifically on the expected costs, arrangements for recruitment, qualifications and training requirements.

Lords report stage day three: Monday 27 October

Members of the Lords began by discussing the part of the bill that sets out the circumstances in which an application for judicial review can proceed to a full hearing. A proposal to retain greater judicial discretion to consider the circumstances of individual cases went to a vote. Members voted 247 in favour and 181 against, so the change was made.

Peers then considered an amendment to ensure that courts retain a discretion, rather than a duty, in relation to information about the financing of a judicial review application. The change was made after members voted 228 in favour and 195 against.

The third vote concerned the costs of interveners in judicial review proceedings, and sought to retain greater discretion for the court over who should pay those costs. Members voted 219 in favour and 186 against, so the change was made.

The final vote was on an amendment which would have removed a provision restricting the situations where a costs capping order can be made. The change was not made after members voted 58 in favour and 149 against.

Lords report stage day two: Wednesday 22 October

The focus of the debate was secure colleges, part of the government’s new model of youth custody. An amendment proposing that no under 15s should be placed in a secure college went to a vote, with 186 for and 185 against, so the change was made.

Peers voted on another amendment around places of detention for young offenders, which also went to a vote with 178 for and 191 against.

A further amendment, around guidance on when reasonable force could be used in secure colleges went to a vote, with 90 for and 127 against, so it was not made.

Lords report stage day one: Monday 20 October

Members of the Lords discussed prisoners with indeterminate sentences. An amendment proposing that those who are currently serving an indeterminate sentence, with a tarrif of less than two years, should be released, went to a vote with 80 for and 170 against, so the change was not made.

Peers went on to discuss an amendment seeking to create a separate offence for assaulting someone who sells alcohol. The amendment was not made after going to a vote, with 80 for and 106 against.

Lords also agreed a change to make ‘revenge porn’ a criminal offence.

Committee stage day five: Wednesday 30 July

Members of the Lords began by discussing whether an applicant for judicial review should have to disclose financial resources available to meet the cost of it. They also asked if a person or body should be able to intervene in a review (because they have knowledge, experience or an interest that will help in deciding the case), and discussed the costs around interventions.

Peers also looked at eligibility for legal aid in judicial review cases, and the costs a claimant for judicial review would be required to pay if their case was not successful.

Committee stage day four: Monday 28 July

Members of the Lords began by discussing jury service, and looked at whether the upper age should be raised to 75, and whether a judge should be able to limit the use of ‘electronic communications devices’ by a member of the jury.

Peers also discussed the process and requirements around judicial review, asking if it can be made quicker and cheaper.

Committee stage day three: Wednesday 23 July

Members of the Lords began by discussing the establishment of secure colleges to educate young people, with some peers raising concerns around their cost, and the quality of education they would provide.

Peers also asked whether 17 year-olds detained by the police should have the right to be held in local authority accommodation rather than a police station, and what support should be given to children and vulnerable adults who are dependent on an adult who is sentenced to prison.

Committee stage day two: Monday 21 July

Members of the Lords began by discussing sentences for possession of a knife in a public place, and whether compulsory minimum sentencing should be kept in the bill. This went to a vote, with 228 for and 159 against.

Peers also discussed the sentences that should be imposed for driving while disqualified, and looked at punishment for publishing sexually explicit or pornographic images without consent.

Committtee stage day one: Monday 14 July

Members of the Lords discussed suggested changes covering criminal justice, including dangerous offenders, the release and recall of prisoners, the process for issuing cautions and offences involving ill-treatment or wilful neglect.

Second reading: Monday 30 June

Criminal Justice and Courts Bill summary

The bill proposes a number of measures including:

  • changes in how offenders are dealt with before and after conviction
  • amending the offence of possession of extreme pornographic images
  • proposals on the proceedings and powers of courts and tribunals
  • changes to the system of judicial review.

Further information

Image: iStock

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