Session 2010 - 12
Other Bills before Parliament
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders BillPart 1 — Legal aid
The civil legal services described in Part 1 of Schedule 1 do not include services
relating to any law other than the law of England and Wales, except—
where express provision to the contrary is made by or under Part 1 of
where such law is relevant for determining any issue relating to the law
of England and Wales;
in other circumstances specified by the Lord Chancellor by order.
A determination by the Director or a court under section 12, 14 or 15 that an
individual qualifies for advice, assistance or representation under this Part
does not impose a duty on the Lord Chancellor to secure that services relating
to any law other than the law of England and Wales are made available,
The Lord Chancellor may not make an order under subsection (1) or (2) unless
the Lord Chancellor considers—
that it is necessary to make the order because failure to do so would
result in a breach of—
an individual’s Convention rights (within the meaning of the
Human Rights Act 1998), or
an individual’s rights to the provision of legal services under
European Union law, or
that it is appropriate to make the order having regard to any risk that
failure to do so would result in such a breach.
Restriction on disclosure of information about financial resources
A person to whom information is disclosed under section 21 or this subsection
may disclose the information to any person to whom its disclosure is necessary
or expedient in connection with facilitating a determination in respect of an
individual’s financial resources that is required under section 20.
A person to whom such information is disclosed must not—
disclose the information other than in accordance with subsection (1),
use the information other than for the purpose of facilitating a
determination described in subsection (1).
Subsection (2) does not prevent—
the disclosure of information in accordance with an enactment or an
order of a court,
the disclosure of information for the purposes of the investigation or
prosecution of an offence (or suspected offence) under the law of
England and Wales or Northern Ireland or any other jurisdiction,
except where regulations otherwise provide,
the disclosure of information for the purposes of instituting, or
otherwise for the purposes of, proceedings before a court, or
the disclosure of information which has previously been lawfully
disclosed to the public.
A person who discloses or uses information in contravention of this section is
guilty of an offence and liable—
on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding
2 years or a fine (or both);
on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6
months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).
It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove
that the person reasonably believed that the disclosure or use was lawful.
In this section “enactment” includes—
an enactment contained in subordinate legislation (within the meaning
of the Interpretation Act 1978), and
an enactment contained in, or in an instrument made under, an Act or
Measure of the National Assembly for Wales or Northern Ireland
Restriction on disclosure of other information
This section applies to information that is provided—
to the Lord Chancellor, the Director, a court, a tribunal or any other
person on whom functions are imposed or conferred by or under this
in connection with the case of an individual seeking or receiving
services provided under arrangements made for the purposes of this
Such information must not be disclosed, subject to the exceptions in section 34.
A person who discloses information in contravention of this section is guilty of
an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on
the standard scale.
that the person reasonably believed that the disclosure was lawful.
Proceedings for an offence under this section may not be brought without the
consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Nothing in this section applies to information if—
it is provided to a person providing services under arrangements made
for the purposes of this Part, and
it is provided by or on behalf of an individual seeking or receiving the
Nothing in this section applies to information to which section 32 applies.
Exceptions from restriction under section 33
Section 33(2) does not prevent the disclosure of information—
for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Lord Chancellor or the
Secretary of State for Justice to carry out their functions (whether
conferred or imposed by an Act or otherwise),
for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Director to carry out
functions imposed or conferred on the Director by or under this Part, or
for the purpose of enabling or assisting a court, tribunal or other person
on whom functions are imposed or conferred by or under this Part to
carry out those functions.
Section 33(2) does not prevent—
the disclosure of information in accordance with the law of England
and Wales or an order of a court,
the disclosure of information for the purpose of the investigation or
England and Wales or any other jurisdiction, except where regulations
otherwise for the purposes of, proceedings before a court,
disclosed to the public, or
the disclosure of information for the purpose of facilitating the proper
performance by a tribunal of disciplinary functions.
Section 33(2) does not prevent the disclosure of—
information in the form of a summary or collection of information that
is framed so that information relating to an individual cannot be
ascertained from it, or
information about the amount of any grant, loan or other payment
made to a person by the Lord Chancellor under arrangements made for
the purposes of this Part.
Section 33(2) does not prevent the disclosure of information for any purpose—
with the consent of the individual in connection with whose case it was
if the information was provided other than by that individual, with the
consent of the person who provided the information.
Section 33(2) does not prevent the disclosure of information after the end of the
restricted period if—
the disclosure is by a person who is a public authority for the purposes
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or who is acting on behalf of
such a person, and
the information is not held by the public authority on behalf of another
The restricted period is the period of 100 years beginning with the end of the
calendar year in which a record containing the information was first created by
a person to whom the information was provided in connection with a case
described in section 33(1)(b).
This section applies where a person—
intentionally fails to comply with a requirement imposed by or under
this Part to provide documents or information, or
in providing documents or information in accordance with such a
requirement, makes a statement or representation knowing or
believing it to be false.
The person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine
not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
Proceedings in respect of an offence under this section may (despite anything
in the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980) be brought at any time within the period
of 6 months beginning with the date on which evidence sufficient in the
opinion of the prosecutor to justify a prosecution comes to the prosecutor’s
Subsection (3) does not authorise the commencement of proceedings for an
offence more than 2 years after the date on which the offence was committed.
A county court is to have jurisdiction to hear and determine an action brought
by the Lord Chancellor to recover loss sustained by reason of—
the failure by a person to comply with a requirement imposed by or
under this Part to provide documents or information, or
a false statement or false representation made by a person in providing
documents or information in accordance with such a requirement.
Abolition of Legal Services Commission
The Legal Services Commission ceases to exist.
Schedule 4 (transfer of employees and property etc of Legal Services
Commission) has effect.
The Lord Chancellor must, as soon as practicable after subsection (1) comes
prepare a report on how the Legal Services Commission has carried out
its functions in the final period,
lay a copy of the report before Parliament, and
once it has been laid, publish the report.
prepare a statement of accounts for the Legal Services Commission for
the final period, and
send a copy of the statement to the Comptroller and Auditor General.
The Comptroller and Auditor General must—
examine, certify and report on the statement, and
arrange for a copy of the statement and the report to be laid before
In this section—
“the final period” means the period—
beginning with end of the last financial year for which the Legal
Services Commission produced a report and accounts in
accordance with paragraphs 14 and 16 of Schedule 1 to the
Access to Justice Act 1999, and
ending immediately before the day on which subsection (1)
comes into force;
“financial year” means a period of 12 months ending with 31 March.