JCHR Press Notice 04-05 No. 2

Session 2004-05                                        6 December 2004

Forthcoming Publications

The Joint Committee on Human Rights will publish its first two Reports of Session 2004-05 on Wednesday 8th December at 10.00am.

Protocol No.14 to the European Convention on Human Rights

The Committee's First Report of Session 2004-05 (House of Lords Paper 8/House of Commons Paper 106) deals with Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights. This Protocol amends the control system of the Convention with the intention of preserving the effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights in the face of the Court's increasing case-load. The Protocol was agreed by the Council of Europe member states on 13 May this year, signed by the UK on 13 July, and laid before Parliament on 15 November. The purpose of the Committee's report is to inform Parliament of the implications of the Protocol before it is ratified by the Government.

Draft Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Categories of Offences) Order 2004

The Committee's Second Report of Session 2004-05 (House of Lords Paper 9/House of Commons Paper 107) gives its preliminary view on the human rights compatibility of the draft Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Categories of Offences) Order 2004. The draft Order was laid before Parliament on 15 November 2004, replacing a draft which was withdrawn. It will be debated in a Commons Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation on 8 December and in the House of Lords on 14 December. The draft Order has to be approved by both Houses of Parliament before coming into effect.

[Note for editors: The draft Order represents the first use of the order-making power in section 103(4)(b) of the 2003 Act, and prescribes two categories of offences for the purposes of section 103 of the Act. Where a defendant is charged with an offence listed in one of the categories, any previous conviction for any other offence listed in that category is deemed to be relevant to the question of whether the defendant has a propensity to commit offences of the type with which he is charged. The previous conviction is therefore admissible in evidence, subject to a judicial discretion to exclude it if it would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of proceedings that it ought not to be admitted.]