Session 2010 - 12
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9

 

House of Commons

 
 

Tuesday 6 September 2011

 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of


 

Offenders Bill


 

[seventh AND eighth Sittings]


 

Karl Turner

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  14

 

Clause  1,  page  1,  line  8,  after ‘services’, insert ‘for the purpose of securing

 

practical and effective access to justice for individuals’.

 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Withdrawn  1

 

Clause  1,  page  1,  line  13,  leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.

 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  2

 

Clause  1,  page  1,  line  13,  after ‘secure’, insert ‘, through the internet or otherwise,’.

 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  61

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end insert—

 

‘(6)    

In carrying out his functions under this Act the L ord Chancellor shall—

 

(a)    

protect and promote the public interest;

 

(b)    

support the constitutional principle of the rule of law;

 

(c)    

ensure no denial of access to justice;

 

(d)    

ensure that access to legal aid complies with Article 6 of the European

 

Convention on Human Rights, taking into account any guidance

 

provided by the European Court of Human Rights.

 

(7)    

T he Lord Chancellor must each year lay a report before Parliament explaining his

 

legal aid strategy.

 

(8)    

A “legal aid strategy” is a strategy under this section setting out the measures that

 

the Lord Chancellor has taken in the past 12 months, and the measures he


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 6 September 2011        

10

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of , continued

 
 

proposes to take in the next 12 months for the purpose of complying with

 

subsection (3) and (6) in accordance with the principles in subsection (1A).

 

(9)    

The Lord Chancellor must each year lay before Parliament a further report

 

describing, in his opinion, the extent to which any changes he has made to the

 

amount of expenditure on civil legal aid has caused additional costs to other

 

departments of state.

 

(10)    

Before submitting the report to Parliament under subsection (9) the Lord

 

Chancellor shall submit the report to the Comptroller and Auditor General for

 

approval.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Withdrawn  79

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that when an individual is in dispute with the

 

state or with a body that is an emanation of the state, in relation to a matter of

 

welfare benefits, employment, debt, housing, or immigration, education or

 

asylum support, that the individual shall continue to be entitled to legal advice,

 

assistance and representation against the state or emanation of the state on the

 

same basis existing prior to the enactment of this Act.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  80

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that in any case where the state or an emanation

 

of the state has legal advice, assistance or representation, a party in dispute with

 

the state or an emanation of the state, shall continue to be entitled in turn to

 

equality of arms and to legal aid for legal advice, assistance or representation in

 

relation to any claim in welfare benefits, employment, debt, housing, or

 

immigration, education or asylum support, as they would have been prior to the

 

enactment of this Act.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Negatived on division  81

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that any individual bringing an appeal on a

 

point of law or perversity to the Upper Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal,

 

the Social Security Commissioners, the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court

 

shall continue to be entitled to legal aid on the same basis as they would have been

 

prior to the enactment of this Act. No individual shall be left without access to

 

legal aid in appeal cases in such higher courts and Tribunals which would have

 

been in scope prior to the enactment of this Act and on the same basis existing

 

prior to the enactment of this Act.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Negatived on division  82

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that where an individual would experience

 

difficulty protecting their legal rights by reason of learning difficulties, mental

 

health problems, other disabilities, language difficulties, problems of literacy or

 

from not being articulate, in relation to welfare benefits, employment, debt,

 

housing, or immigration, education or asylum support, that they continue to be


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 6 September 2011        

11

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of , continued

 
 

entitled to legal aid on the same basis as they would have been prior to the

 

enactment of this Act.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Negatived on division  83

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that no areas of law within the scope of legal

 

aid prior to the enactment of this Act are removed from the scope of legal aid

 

unless and until a full independent assessment of the costs of removal has been

 

undertaken and presented to Parliament and in particular unless and until it has

 

been reasonably established that the removal from scope will not increase the

 

deficit.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Withdrawn  84

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that a detailed strategic plan to fund the not for

 

profit legal advice sector is adequately prepared prior to any decisions being

 

made on changes to the scope of legal aid, to ensure that individuals are not left

 

without access to legal advice and representation in relation to problems of

 

welfare benefits, employment, debt, housing, or immigration, education or

 

asylum support.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  85

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure, before implementing any changes to legal aid

 

in this Act, that in no part of the country will the proposals result in advice deserts

 

where it is not reasonably practicable for any person to be able to access legal

 

advice and assistance in relation to welfare benefits, employment, debt, housing,

 

or immigration, education or asylum support.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Negatived on division  86

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that any individual wishing to access legal aid

 

through face to face provision shall be entitled so to do and shall not be compelled

 

to do so through a telephone gateway.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  87

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that before any proposals to provide legal aid

 

through a telephone gateway are progressed a full further public consultation

 

takes place on the specific details of such proposals and such proposals are fully

 

assessed for cost.’.


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 6 September 2011        

12

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of , continued

 
 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  88

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that if a telephone gateway is introduced

 

sufficient protection is in place to protect the rights of those who would have

 

problems accessing it by reason of learning difficulties, mental health problems,

 

language difficulties, problems of literacy, or from not being articulate.’.

 

Kate Green

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  89

 

Clause  1,  page  2,  line  7,  at end add—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor must ensure that before any changes to legal aid set out in

 

this Act are made, a full independent assessment is carried out into any likely

 

increase of litigants in person resulting from such changes and the effect

 

accordingly on the deficit.’.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Withdrawn  3

 

Clause  2,  page  2,  line  9,  leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.

 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Not called  4

 

Clause  2,  page  2,  line  11,  after ‘Part’, insert ‘and of fulfilling his obligations under

 

section 1, having regard to the extent and nature of demand from eligible persons for

 

Legal Aid’.

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Negatived on division  70

 

Clause  2,  page  2,  line  20,  at end insert—

 

‘(3A)    

Before making regulations relating to the payment of remuneration to barristers

 

and solicitors in accordance with subsection (3) the Lord Chancellor shall consult

 

the General Council of the Bar and the Law Society.

 

(3B)    

Where the Lord Chancellor makes regulations in accordance with subsection (3)

 

he shall have regard to the need to secure the provision of services of the

 

description to which the order relates by a sufficient number of competent

 

persons and bodies.’.

 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

 

Agreed to  17

 

Clause  2,  page  2,  line  22,  after ‘court’ insert ‘, tribunal’.

 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

 

Agreed to  18

 

Clause  2,  page  2,  line  23,  after ‘court’ insert ‘, tribunal’.


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 6 September 2011        

13

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of , continued

 
 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Not called  5

 

Clause  2,  page  2,  line  25,  leave out subsection (5).

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  90

 

Clause  2,  page  2,  line  29,  at end insert—

 

‘(6)    

The Lord Chancellor may make funding available on a discretionary basis for

 

civil legal advice on matters not covered in Schedule 1, where such advice

 

complements the civil legal services provided for under that Schedule.’.

 

Clause, as amended, Agreed to.

 


 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Withdrawn  64

 

Clause  3,  page  2,  line  31,  at beginning insert—

 

‘(A1)    

In carrying out the Lord Chancellor’s functions under this Part, the Lord

 

Chancellor must have regard to the need to ensure that legally aided advice and

 

representation is of comparable quality to non-legally aided advice and

 

representation.’.

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  65

 

Clause  3,  page  2,  line  31,  leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  71

 

Clause  3,  page  2,  line  33,  leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.

 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  6

 

Clause  3,  page  2,  line  42,  after ‘may’, insert ‘not’.

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  67

 

Clause  3,  page  3,  line  3,  leave out subsection (5) and insert—

 

‘(5)    

The Lord Chancellor in setting and monitoring standards under this Part must

 

have regard to the financial and administrative burden placed on the legal

 

profession.

 

(6)    

The Lord Chancellor in setting and monitoring standards under this Part must

 

have regard to the long-term sustainability of the legal profession and the need

 

adequately to train and supervise new entrants to the profession.’.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 6 September 2011        

14

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of , continued

 
 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Withdrawn  8

 

Clause  4,  page  3,  line  9,  at end insert—

 

‘(2)    

This position will be subject to a pre-appointment hearing by a select committee

 

of the House of Commons.’.

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Not called  72

 

Clause  4,  page  3,  line  12,  at end insert—

 

‘(2A)    

The Lord Chancellor shall ensure that the Director, or those providing assistance

 

to the Director in the performance of his functions under this Part, have

 

experience in or knowledge of—

 

(a)    

the provision of criminal and civil legal services which can be funded

 

under this Part,

 

(b)    

the work of the courts,

 

(c)    

social conditions, and

 

(d)    

management.

 

(2B)    

Every person who exercises any function in relation to the performance of the

 

Director’s functions under this Part shall have regard to the desirability of

 

exercising it so as to—

 

(a)    

promote access to justice and equality of arms,

 

(b)    

promote improvements in the range and quality of civil and criminal

 

services provided in accordance with this Part and in the ways in which

 

they are made accessible to those who need them, and

 

(c)    

ensure that the services provided in relation to any matter are appropriate

 

having regard to its nature and importance.’.

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  68

 

Clause  4,  page  3,  line  17,  at end insert—

 

‘(c)    

make decisions independently of Government, and

 

(d)    

make all decisions in accordance with the interests of justice.’.

 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Not called  9

 

Clause  4,  page  3,  line  19,  at end insert ‘except in such cases where the Lord

 

Chancellor considers that a decision in relation to the denial of legal aid by the Director

 

would result in the denial of access of justice.’.

 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

 

Negatived on division  10

 

Clause  4,  page  3,  line  20,  leave out subsections (5) and (6) and insert—

 

(5)    

A decision of the Director on eligibility for legal aid may be appealed to the Legal

 

Aid Tribunal which shall—

 

(a)    

consist of the chairperson and other members appointed under the

 

subsection below;

 

(b)    

act independently when performing any functions or duties.

 

(6)    

The functions of the Tribunal are to—


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 6 September 2011        

15

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of , continued

 
 

(a)    

consider applications for review of decisions of the Director on

 

eligibility;

 

(b)    

conduct and determine reviews of decisions of the Director on eligibility.

 

(7)    

The Lord Chancellor must—

 

(a)    

appoint members of the Tribunal of sufficient number to deal promptly

 

with all reviews and who between them have experience in a range of

 

legal areas and types of proceedings; and

 

(b)    

appoint one of the members as the chairperson of the Tribunal.

 

(8)    

The primary function of the chairperson is to ensure that the Tribunal performs

 

its functions in accordance with this Act in an efficient and effective manner.’.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Not selected  11

 

Page  3,  line  24,  leave out Clause 5.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Not selected  12

 

Page  4,  line  13,  leave out Clause 6.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Negatived on division  13

 

Clause  7,  page  5,  line  20,  leave out from ‘form’ to ‘resolution’ in line 22 and insert

 

‘of representation. They may also include additional services such as mediation and other

 

forms of dispute resolution.’.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Mr Andy Slaughter

 

Withdrawn  75

 

Clause  8,  page  5,  line  27,  leave out subsection (1).

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Withdrawn  73

 

Clause  8,  page  5,  line  28,  after ‘Schedule 1’, insert ‘or fall within the category of


 
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Revised 7 September 2011