Crime and Courts Bill: Lords committee stage day three

26 June 2012

The Crime and Courts Bill continued its third day of committee stage, with detailed line by line examination by members of the House of Lords, yesterday (Monday 25 June)

Members continued examining the National Crime Agency's (NCA) role and the suggested abolition of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) in changes to Schedule Eight of the bill. Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour) made a probing amendment to question the benefits from abolishing the NPIA and dividing its functions.

Government Minister Lord Henley (Conservative) responded: 'The closure of NPIA is a crucial element in a wider programme of reform that is reshaping the way that our policing is delivered and supported to provide a service better equipped to meet the challenges of the future,' he said. 'We are working with the police service, with the NPIA and other policing and criminal justice partners to ensure that public safety is maintained,' he added. The amendments were withdrawn and Schedule Eight was agreed. 

The function of county courts and the proposed single county court with 'a national jurisdiction for the whole of England and Wales' came under scrutiny in amendments to Schedule Nine of the bill. A number of technical government amendments were put forward by Lord McNally (Liberal Democrats). He explained: 'They include a number of minor or consequential amendments to take account of the creation of the single county court and single family court. With the creation of the single county court, the 170 existing county courts will cease to exist as separate courts or jurisdictions but will remain as hearing centres with court offices attached to them.' 

Similar technical amendments in Schedule 10 for family courts were also agreed. The debate continued and members discussed how women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities can take on judiciary roles. 

Members of the House will continue examining the bill from Schedule 12 on Wednesday 27 June.

Committee stage day two: Wednesday 20 June

About the Crime and Courts Bill

The bill was introduced in the House of Lords at its first reading stage (formal introduction) on 10 May. It aims to establish the National Crime Agency and suggests abolishing the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the National Policing Improvement Agency.

It also examines the structure, administration, proceedings and powers of courts and tribunals and addresses issues like border control and drugs and driving.

What is committee stage?

Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the bill takes place during committee stage. Any member of the Lords can take part.

It usually starts no fewer than two weeks after the second reading and can last for one to eight days or more.

The day before committee stage starts, amendments (changes) are published in a marshalled list – in which all the amendments are placed in order. Amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a list (groupings of amendments) is published on the day.

During committee stage every clause of the bill has to be agreed to and votes on the amendments can take place. All proposed amendments can be discussed and there is no time limit, or guillotine, on discussion of amendments.

Previous Crime and Court Bill news stories

Further information

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