Prisons and Courts Bill (HC Bill 170)

Prisons and Courts BillPage 30

(1E) If the person confirms in writing that he or she does not wish to elect to
be tried by the Crown Court for the offence—

(a) subsection (2) does not apply, and

(b) the court must proceed in relation to the offence in accordance
5with section 9.”

(3) In subsection (2), omit “But”.

29 Sending cases to the Crown Court: adults

(1) Section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (sending cases to the Crown
Court: adults) is amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (5).

(2) 10For subsection (1) substitute—

(1) This section applies where an adult is charged with an offence and any
of the conditions mentioned in subsection (2) below is satisfied.

(1A) But Criminal Procedure Rules may make provision about
circumstances in which this section does not apply.”

(3) 15In subsection (2)—

(a) in paragraph (b)—

(i) for “the court” substitute “a magistrates’ court”;

(ii) for “subsection (1) above” substitute “this section”;

(b) in paragraph (c), for “the court” substitute “a magistrates’ court”.

(4) 20After subsection (2) insert—

(2A) A magistrates’ court must give the person one or more documents
which—

(a) state the charge against the person;

(b) explain that a magistrates’ court is required to send the person
25to the Crown Court for trial for the offence;

(c) set out any other information required or authorised by
Criminal Procedure Rules.

(2B) As soon as practicable after giving the documents required by
subsection (2A), the magistrates’ court must send the person to the
30Crown Court for trial for the offence (which need not be done in open
court).

(2C) Subsections (2A) and (2B) have effect subject to Criminal Procedure
Rules made under subsection (3A).”

(5) For subsections (3) to (12) substitute—

(3A) 35Criminal Procedure Rules may make provision about situations
where—

(a) this section applies to an offence alleged to have been
committed by a person (D), and

(b) any other alleged offence (whether the other offence is alleged
40to have been committed by D or by another person, and
whether or not this section applies to the other offence) is
related to the offence alleged to have been committed by D.

Prisons and Courts BillPage 31

(3B) The provision that may be made in the rules includes provision for the
other offence to be sent to the Crown Court even if it is a summary
offence.

(3C) Subsection (1) does not prevent a magistrates’ court from complying
5with subsection (2A) by giving the required documents in anticipation
of the conditions in subsection (2) being met.”

(6) In section 50A of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (order of consideration for
either-way offences), in subsection (3)(a), for sub-paragraph (i) substitute—

(“i) the court shall first consider the relevant offence in
10accordance with Criminal Procedure Rules made under
section 51(3A) below and, where applicable, deal with it
under those rules;”

(7) In section 51E of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (interpretation of sections
50A to 51D), omit paragraphs (c) and (d).

(8) 15In sections 19(6), 20(9)(b), 21, 22A(2)(b), 23(4)(b) and (5) and 25(2D) of the
Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980, for “section 51(1)” substitute “section 51”.

30 Children and young people

Schedule 3 (conducting preliminary proceedings in writing: children and
young people) has effect.

20Conduct of certain criminal proceedings on the papers

31 Conduct of criminal proceedings on the papers

(1) The Lord Chancellor may, by regulations, make such provision as he or she considers
appropriate to enable or facilitate the making of preliminary decisions or enforcement
decisions on the basis of documents before the court.

(2) 25But regulations under this section may provide for decision-making on the
basis of documents to be available only as an alternative to decision-making at
a hearing.

(3) The provision that may be made in regulations under this section includes
provision amending, repealing or revoking—

(a) 30any provision of an Act, or

(b) any provision made under an Act.

(4) The Lord Chancellor may make regulations under this section only with the
concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice.

(5) Regulations under this section are subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

(6) 35In this section—

  • “enforcement decision” means a decision relating to collection, discharge,
    satisfaction or enforcement of—

    (a)

    a sum that has been adjudged to be paid on conviction by a
    magistrates’ court or the Crown Court, or

    (b)

    40a financial penalty that is enforceable in accordance with section
    85(6) and (7) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

    Prisons and Courts BillPage 32

    as if it were such a sum (including determination of whether a
    financial penalty is so enforceable);

  • “preliminary decision” means any decision in the course of proceedings
    for a criminal offence to be made before the start of the trial (within the
    5meaning of subsection (11A) or (11B) of section 22 of the Prosecution of
    Offences Act 1985) including, in the case of proceedings in the Crown
    Court, a decision that would (ignoring any regulations under this
    section) be made at a preparatory hearing held under—

    (a)

    section 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (cases of serious or
    10complex fraud); or

    (b)

    section 29 of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act
    1996 (other serious, complex or lengthy cases),

    but excluding acceptance by the court of a guilty plea.

Audio and video technology: criminal courts

32 15Expansion of availability of live links in criminal proceedings

Schedule 4 (live links in criminal proceedings) has effect.

33 Expansion of availability of live links in other criminal hearings

Schedule 5 (live links in other criminal hearings) has effect.

Public participation: court and tribunal proceedings conducted by video or audio

34 20Public participation in proceedings conducted by video or audio

Schedule 6 (public participation in proceedings conducted by video or audio)
has effect.

Automatic online conviction and standard statutory penalty

35 Changes to institution of proceedings by written charge

(1) 25Section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (new method of instituting
proceedings) is amended as follows.

(2) For the heading substitute “Instituting proceedings by written charge”.

(3) In subsection (2), for paragraph (b) substitute—

(b) a written procedure notice.”

(4) 30In subsection (2B), for “single justice procedure notice is a document which”
substitute “written procedure notice is a document which sets out procedures
which may be available for dealing with the charge and which”.

(5) In subsection (3A), for “single justice procedure notice” substitute “written
procedure notice”.

(6) 35After subsection (3A) insert—

(3AA) If the relevant prosecutor decides that the criminal proceedings are to
be capable of leading to the automatic online conviction option being

Prisons and Courts BillPage 33

offered in relation to the offence (see sections 16G and 16H of the
Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980), the relevant prosecutor must (when
complying with subsection (3A)) give notice of that possibility to the
designated officer concerned.”

(7) 5In subsections (3B) and (3C), for “single justice procedure notice” substitute
“written procedure notice”.

(8) After subsection (3C) insert—

(3D) The requirement in the written procedure notice to state whether or not
the person desires to be tried in accordance with section 16A of the
10Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 ceases to apply if the person is offered,
and accepts, the automatic online conviction option in relation to the
offence.”

(9) In subsection (5A) for “single justice procedure notices” (in each place)
substitute “written procedure notices”.

(10) 15A person who immediately before the coming into force of this section is—

(a) a person specified in an order under section 29(5)(h) of the Criminal
Justice Act 2003, or

(b) a person authorised by a person so specified to institute criminal
proceedings,

20is to be treated after the coming into force of this section as authorised to issue
written procedure notices (subject to the order specifying that person being
varied or revoked).

36 Automatic online conviction and standard statutory penalty

(1) After section 16F of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 insert—

25“Automatic online conviction and standard statutory penalty
16G The automatic online conviction option

(1) In this Act a reference to a person being offered the automatic online conviction
option in respect of an offence is a reference to the person being given a written
notification by electronic means, and in accordance with Criminal Procedure
30Rules, which explains that if the person intends to plead guilty he or she may
agree—

(a) to be convicted of the offence under section 16H, and

(b) to be penalised for the offence under section 16I.

(2) In this Act a reference to a person accepting the automatic online
35conviction option in respect of an offence is a reference to the person
giving a written notification by electronic means, and in accordance
with Criminal Procedure Rules, which indicates that he or she—

(a) pleads guilty to the offence,

(b) agrees to be convicted for the offence under section 16H, and

(c) 40agrees to be penalised for the offence under section 16I.

(3) The reference in subsection (2) to a written notification given by the
person includes a reference to a written notification purporting to be
given by the person (or his or her legal representative).

16H Conviction

(1) 45This section applies to a person accused of an offence if—

(a) the qualifying conditions are met, and

(b) the person is offered, and accepts, the automatic online
conviction option in respect of the offence.

(2) The person is convicted of the offence by virtue of accepting the
50automatic online conviction option.

(3) For the purposes of this section the qualifying conditions are met if—

(a) an order made by the Secretary of State specifies the offence as
one for which the automatic online conviction option may be
offered;

(b) 55the accused is an individual who had attained the age of 18
years when the offence is alleged to have occurred;

(c) the required documents have been served on the accused; and

(d) service of all of the required documents was effected in
accordance with Criminal Procedure Rules.

(4) 60An offence may not be specified in an order under subsection (3)(a)
unless it is a summary offence that is not punishable with
imprisonment.

(5) The power to make orders conferred by subsection (3)(a) is exercisable
by statutory instrument; and a statutory instrument containing an
65order under subsection (3)(a) may not be made unless a draft of it has
been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of
Parliament.

(6) In this section “required documents” means—

(a) a written charge and a written procedure notice (see section 29
70of the Criminal Justice Act 2003),

(b) the notice required by section 29(3AA) of the Criminal Justice
Act 2003 (notice of possibility of availability of automatic online
conviction procedure), and

(c) such other documents as may be prescribed by Criminal
75Procedure Rules (see section 29(3B) of the Criminal Justice Act
2003).

16I Penalties

(1) This section applies if a person is convicted of an offence under section
16H.

(2) 80The person is liable to a fine of the amount specified for the offence.

(3) The person’s driving record is to be endorsed with the specified
number of penalty points, and any other specified particulars, if the
offence is specified as one to which such a penalty applies.

(4) The person is liable to pay compensation if the offence is specified as
85one in respect of which such a payment is to be made.

(5) The amount of the compensation payable—

(a) is to be determined by the relevant prosecutor who instituted
proceedings for the offence;

Prisons and Courts BillPage 34

(b) must not exceed the maximum amount specified for the offence.

(6) The person is liable to pay prosecution costs.

(7) The amount of the prosecution costs payable is to be determined by the
relevant prosecutor who instituted proceedings for the offence.

(8) 5The person is liable to pay a surcharge of the amount specified for the
offence.

(9) In this section and section 16J

  • “driving record” and “penalty points” have the same meanings as
    in the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988;

  • 10“relevant prosecutor” has the same meaning as in section 29 of the
    Criminal Justice Act 2003;

  • “specified” means specified in an order made by Secretary of State
    (about which section 16J makes further provision).

16J Orders about penalties under section 16I

(1) 15An order under section 16I(2) may specify fines of different amounts—

(a) for different offences;

(b) for different circumstances in which a particular offence is
committed.

(2) An order under section 16I(3) may not specify an offence as one to
20which that provision applies unless it is an offence that would or could
result in the endorsement of the person’s driving record with penalty
points if the person were convicted of the offence in a magistrates’ court
(whether or not the conviction would or could also result in any other
punishment).

(3) 25An order under section 16I(5)(b) may specify different maximum
amounts of compensation—

(a) for different offences;

(b) for different circumstances in which a particular offence is
committed.

(4) 30An order under section 16I(8) may specify different amounts of
surcharge—

(a) for different offences;

(b) for different circumstances in which a particular offence is
committed.

(5) 35The power to make an order under section 16I(8) includes power to
specify the amount of the surcharge for a particular offence as a
proportion of the amount of the fine specified for that offence.

(6) The power to make orders conferred by section 16I is exercisable by
statutory instrument; and a statutory instrument containing an order
40under section 16I is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution
of either House of Parliament.

16K Notice of penalty

(1) A person who is convicted of an offence under section 16H must be
given a notice of penalty.

Prisons and Courts BillPage 35

(2) A notice of penalty is a written notification which—

(a) sets out the fine, and any penalty points and other amounts, to
which the person is liable under section 16I;

(b) specifies the fines office to which the notice is allocated;

(c) 5requires the person to pay the fine and other amounts—

(i) within the relevant 28 day period, and

(ii) in the manner specified in the notice.

(3) The relevant 28 day period is the period of 28 days beginning with the
day on which the person’s conviction took effect.

(4) 10A notice of penalty must be given by electronic means and in
accordance with Criminal Procedure Rules.

(5) The conviction of a person under section 16H, and any fine, penalty
points, compensation, surcharge or prosecution costs imposed under
section 16I, are not affected by any defect in the form or substance of a
15notice of penalty.

16L Timing and status of conviction and penalty

(1) The time when a conviction under section 16H takes effect is to be
determined in accordance with Criminal Procedure Rules.

(2) A conviction under section 16H is to be treated as a conviction by a
20magistrates’ court.

(3) Any fine under section 16I is to be treated as if it had been imposed by
a magistrates’ court on that conviction.

(4) Any endorsement of a person’s driving record under section 16I is to be
treated as if a magistrates’ court had ordered the endorsement under
25section 44 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

(5) Any compensation under section 16I is to be treated as if a magistrates’
court had ordered it to be paid under section 130 of the Powers of
Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.

(6) Any prosecution costs under section 16I are to be treated as if a
30magistrates’ court had ordered them to be paid under section 18 of the
Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.

(7) Any surcharge under section 16I is to be treated as if a magistrates’
court had ordered it to be paid under section 161A of the Criminal
Justice Act 2003.

16M 35Powers to set aside a conviction or replace a penalty etc

(1) A magistrates’ court may set aside a conviction under section 16H if it
appears to the court that the conviction is unjust.

(2) Subsection (1) does not affect the validity of a written charge or a
written procedure notice.

(3) 40A magistrates’ court carrying out functions under subsection (1) may
be composed of a single justice.

(4) But if a magistrates’ court composed of a single justice is minded to
refuse to set aside a conviction—

Prisons and Courts BillPage 36

(a) the decision must instead be referred to a magistrates’ court that
is not so composed; and

(b) the parties should be given the opportunity to attend at, and
make representations to, the magistrates’ court making that
5decision.

(5) A magistrates’ court—

(a) may set aside any penalty imposed on a person under section
16I if it appears to the court that the amount of that penalty is
unjust; and

(b) 10if it does so, may impose any sentence that it could have
imposed for that offence if the person had pleaded guilty before
it at the earliest opportunity.

(6) A magistrates’ court may exercise a power conferred by this section—

(a) on an application by the person convicted,

(b) 15on an application by the relevant prosecutor (within the
meaning of section 29) who initiated the proceedings, or

(c) of its own motion.

(7) In this section “penalty” means—

(a) a fine,

(b) 20penalty points,

(c) compensation,

(d) prosecution costs, or

(e) a surcharge.

(8) A reference in this section to the amount of a penalty is to be read, in
25relation to penalty points, as a reference to the number of penalty points
imposed.”

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(2) Until section 51(1) comes into force—

(a) the references to a magistrates’ court in section 16L of the Magistrates’
Courts Act 1980 (inserted by subsection (1) above) have effect as
references to a magistrates’ court in the relevant local justice area; and

(b) 5for that purpose “relevant local justice area” means the local justice area
which covers the address at which the written procedure notice relating
to the offence was served.

(3) Schedule 7 (automatic online conviction and standard statutory penalty) has
effect.

10Online procedure: the civil and family courts and the tribunals

37 Rules for an online procedure in courts and tribunals

(1) For proceedings of a specified kind, there are to be rules of court (in the case of court
proceedings) or tribunal procedure rules (in the case of tribunal proceedings) which—

(a) must require that kind of proceedings, or one or more aspects of that kind of
15proceedings, to be initiated by electronic means;

(b) may authorise or require that kind of proceedings, or one or more aspects of that
kind of proceedings, to be conducted, progressed or disposed of by electronic
means;

Prisons and Courts BillPage 38

(c) may authorise or require the parties to that kind of proceedings (and their
representatives) to participate in hearings, including the hearing at which the
proceedings are disposed of, by electronic means;

and are otherwise to govern the practice and procedure to be followed in that kind of
5proceedings.

(2) The rules are referred to as “online procedure rules”.

(3) Proceedings are of a “specified kind” if they are a kind of—

(a) civil proceedings,

(b) family proceedings,

(c) 10proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal,

(d) proceedings in the Upper Tribunal,

(e) proceedings in employment tribunals, or

(f) proceedings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal,

specified in regulations made by the Lord Chancellor.

(4) 15The provision that may be made under subsection (1)(b) includes provision
authorising or requiring—

(a) any question arising in proceedings, or

(b) the final determination of proceedings,

to be disposed of by electronic means as a result of steps which the parties take,
20or fail to take, by electronic means.

(5) Power to make online procedure rules is to be exercised with a view to
securing—

(a) that practice and procedure under the rules are accessible and fair,

(b) that the rules are both simple and simply expressed,

(c) 25that disputes may be resolved quickly and efficiently under the rules,
and

(d) that the rules support the use of innovative methods of resolving
disputes.

(6) Different online procedure rules may be made for different kinds of
30proceedings.

(7) Online procedure rules may provide—

(a) for circumstances in which proceedings of a specified kind—

(i) are not to be governed by the rules, or

(ii) are to cease to be governed by the rules,

35and proceedings of that kind are to be governed by Civil Procedure
Rules, Family Procedure Rules, Tribunal Procedure Rules or
Employment Tribunal Procedure Rules instead;

(b) for circumstances in which excluded proceedings—

(i) are to be governed by online procedure rules, or

(ii) 40are to be governed again by online procedure rules,

and are to cease to be governed by Civil Procedure Rules, Family
Procedure Rules, Tribunal Procedure Rules or Employment Tribunal
Procedure Rules.

(8) For the purposes of subsection (7)(b), proceedings are “excluded” if the
45proceedings are not governed, or cease to be governed, by the online procedure
rules under provision of the kind referred to in subsection (7)(a).

Prisons and Courts BillPage 39

(9) Online procedure rules may provide—

(a) for proceedings of a specified kind to be taken in a court or tribunal
which is not the court or tribunal in which they would be taken if
governed by the applicable standard rules;

(b) 5for different proceedings (whether of the same specified kind or
different specified kinds) to be taken together in a particular court or
tribunal (which need not be the court or tribunal in which any or all of
those proceedings would be taken if governed by the applicable
standard rules).

(10) 10Regulations under this section are subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

(11) Section 38 includes further provision about regulations under subsection (3).

(12) Schedule 8 (practice directions) has effect.

38 Regulations for the purposes of section 37

(1) The factors by reference to which a kind of proceedings may be specified in
15regulations under section 37 include—

(a) the legal basis of the proceedings;

(b) the factual basis of the proceedings;

(c) the value of the matter in issue in the proceedings;

(d) the court or tribunal in which the proceedings are to be brought or
20continued.

(2) The Lord Chancellor may, by regulations, provide for—

(a) circumstances in which the person initiating proceedings, or an aspect
of proceedings, may (if the proceedings are of a specified kind) choose
whether the proceedings or that aspect are to be initiated in accordance
25with online procedure rules or the applicable standard rules;

(b) circumstances in which proceedings of a specified kind—

(i) are not to be governed by online procedure rules, or

(ii) are to cease to be governed by online procedure rules,

and are to be governed by Civil Procedure Rules, Family Procedure
30Rules, Tribunal Procedure Rules or Employment Tribunal Procedure
Rules instead;

(c) circumstances in which excluded proceedings—

(i) are to be governed by online procedure rules, or

(ii) are to be governed again by online procedure rules,

35and are to cease to be governed by Civil Procedure Rules, Family
Procedure Rules or Tribunal Procedure Rules.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(c) proceedings are “excluded” if the
proceedings are not governed, or cease to be governed, by the online procedure
rules under—

(a) 40online procedure rules of the kind referred to in section 37(7)(a), or

(b) regulations under subsection (2)(a) or (2)(b).

(4) The Lord Chancellor must consult the Lord Chief Justice before making
regulations under section 37, or regulations under subsection (2) of this section,
in relation to—

(a) 45civil proceedings, or

(b) family proceedings.