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(h) to proceedings before the Courts-Martial Appeal Court ; (i) to proceedings before a Standing Civilian Court ;

and it applies wherever the proceedings take place.

(3) An order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument and shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.'.-- [Mr. Maclean.] Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Maclean : I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The Ministry of Defence wishes the new rules in criminal proceedings concerning inferences to be drawn from silence in clauses 29 to 33 to apply as closely as possible to disciplinary proceedings under the service discipline Acts in order to avoid a disparity between civilian and service law. The new clause gives the Secretary of State power to apply those rules to service disciplinary proceedings and to specify whatever modifications he deems appropriate. Such modifications will be required because of the ways in which service disciplinary proceedings differ from those in the civilian courts. Those investigating offences and hearing proceedings under the service discipline Acts follow different procedures from their civilian counterparts and the application of the provisions will need to reflect that.

The disciplinary proceedings to which the clauses may be applied are summary proceedings and courts martial, constituted in accordance with the service discipline Acts : the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957. Those proceedings may take place anywhere in the world where the armed forces are situated and the rules will apply wherever they take place.

I commend the clause to the House as providing a means to ensure that service personnel are treated on a similar basis to civilians in regard to the effects of clauses 29 to 33, whether they are dealt with under service law or under the civilian criminal law.

Mr. Michael : Clearly, it would be wrong for there to be major disparities between the criminal law and the law applying to the armed forces. Having said that, it is also clear that there are major and grave deficiencies in clauses 29 to 33, which we shall highlight when we debate the clauses. It seems that it is not helpful or appropriate to pre-empt that debate. We shall seek to amend clauses 29 to 33 in due course and to delete parts of those provisions. If we are successful in those endeavours, our improvement of the Bill will also apply to new clause 75. That makes our position clear. Having made clear our distaste for much of what is in clauses 29 to 33, I do not intend to detain the House to debate those points this afternoon.

Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland) : I am surprised that the Minister should have brought forward such a measure at this stage in the proceedings without any prior discussion. I am unhappy about a measure which is highly controversial in civil proceedings and which runs against the recommendations of the Royal Commission, under the chairmanship of Lord Runciman, being imported on the say-so of the Ministry of Defence into courts martials, which operate under different rules. The rules about the inferences to be drawn from silence are controversial enough in the civilian courts and, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) has said, we shall come to that issue in due course.

It should not be thought that the new proposal is necessarily appropriate-- even if clauses 29 to 33 go

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through--in the different circumstances of disciplinary proceedings before a court martial. So far as I am aware, questions of convincing juries do not arise in such circumstances and, if there is any case for modifying the right to silence, it is because of the effect that it may have on the attitude of juries. I do not accept that that has sufficient weight to change the long-standing law of the country and, for courts martial, no such comparable consideration would seem to arise.

Dr. Godman : I listened carefully to what my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) said, but I wish to ask the Minister a couple of questions. Following the comments of the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), the proposal is at best controversial and at a worst dodgy. The new clause seeks to bring clauses 29 to 33 into Scottish law by way of a military back door. It would appear that much of United Kingdom military law slavishly follows English criminal law and criminal procedures. [Hon. Members :-- "Hear, hear."] I see that there is some agreement.

Military law in the United Kingdom need not inevitably be completely compliant with one jurisdictional system, since there are marked differences between military law, Scottish criminal law and English criminal law. May I quote from Professor D. M. Walker's book, with which the Minister should be familiar, as he has some sort of degree in Scots law. In the book "The Scottish Legal System", published in 1992, Professor Walker said :

"While it is no doubt desirable to have a common code of service law for all personnel, it is unfortunate that the code adopted is based entirely on English criminal law, which may cause difficulties for Scottish counsel or solicitors defending and may give rise to problems of great difficulty on appeal, since Scottish judges do not profess to know English criminal law."

I suspect that officials and the Minister have not thought about the case of an appeal made by a Scottish soldier who is convicted by a court martial sitting in Edinburgh castle. Due to the divergences between the two systems, such a soldier would have a powerful case to argue against the inadequacy and, I would say, the rottenness of that law.

Scottish soldiers serving, for example, with a Scottish regiment in Scotland would be subjected to an entirely different regime than is the case for their pals in civvy street. Since the Minister said in Committee that the Government have no intention of taking away from the Scottish legal system the right to silence, what we have is bad law. It is bad law to treat military law as the merest appendage of English criminal law. It is utterly illogical in relation to Scottish personnel who are serving in Scotland and those, for example, serving with a Scottish regiment overseas. If the proposal were to go through, what would happen to a Scottish service man or woman who seeks to appeal against the decision of a court martial, given that a court martial is entirely different from a jury trial at the sheriff court or in the High Court ? I remind the Minister that Professor Walker said :

"The Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act of 1951 (now the Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1968) constituted a Courts-Martial Appeal Court consisting in Scotland of such Lords Commissioners of Justiciary as the Lord Justice-General may nominate, being uneven in number and not less than three."

Incidentally, Professor Walker is the emeritus professor of law at Glasgow university. He goes on to say :

"A person convicted by court-martial in any of the services may, with the leave of the Appeal Court, and subject to certain conditions, appeal against his conviction."

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Does that mean that, if the measure goes through, the Scottish soldier of whom I spoke would have to appeal to the English Court of Appeal ? It is as absurd as that.

Mr. Maclennan : I hesitate to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, who is making a number of good points, but does he find it as objectionable as I do that no Scottish Minister is present to listen to the arguments ? In Committee, there were no Scottish Ministers present, despite the fact that major parts of the Scottish criminal law were being amended. Is not that worse than discourtesy ? Is not it an abuse ?

Dr. Godman : I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. With him, as the other Scots Member of the Committee, I have complained loud and long over the Government's failure to put a Scottish Office Minister on the Front Bench. There was a Scottish Office Minister present--the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton)--who moved new clause 73 and disappeared in a cloud of dust. It is a disgrace, as I have said all along. Those measures should not be introduced in Scotland by means of this useless, clumsy piece of legislation.

It is important to consider the right of a soldier, a sailor or an airman to appeal when he or she has been convicted of a military offence at a court martial set up, for example, in Edinburgh or Inverness. Professor Walker says :

"The practice at the High Court of Justiciary sitting as Court of Criminal Appeal is followed"

in such a case

"and the powers of the court are similar. The court will allow an appeal if it thinks that the finding of the court-martial under all the circumstances of the case is unsafe or unsatisfactory, or involves a wrong decision on a point of law, or that there was a material irregularity in the course of the trial, but the court may dismiss an appeal on a technical point if it considers that in the circumstances no miscarriage of justice has occurred."

Will that Scottish soldier have to appeal to an English Court of Appeal, given that the military law under which he is being tried at the court martial in Edinburgh is based on English law, or will such an appeal, as is the case now, be heard by members of the High Court of Justiciary ? By that one example, we can show the illogicality of the proposal and its irredeemable unfairness to service personnel serving in Scotland, where we have an entirely different legal system.

Will the matter be pushed to one side, like everything else, by the odd-job lot in government ? I fear that that may be the case. I should like to hear an answer from the Minister about a convicted service man's appeal rights under the new clause.

5 pm

Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann) : I apologise for intervening in this part of the debate as I did not hear the opening speeches. I do so to react to what I did hear, especially the comments of the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan). He said that clauses 29 to 33 were being introduced primarily with regard to jury trials. I disagree because the truth is quite the reverse. As everyone knows, juries have always taken silence into account. We need clauses 29 to 33 precisely to ensure that non-jury courts take silence into account. That is part of the reason why similar provisions were introduced in Northern Ireland almost six years ago. We knew that the judges in

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single-judge courts were not taking into account matters that common sense said that they should. The clauses are especially useful in this context.

The hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) referred to clauses 29 to 33 as affecting or abolishing the right to silence. They do not. If hon. Members want to see a new clause that would affect the right to silence, they should look at my new clause 63. New clause 76 does not affect the right to silence. It concerns merely the question of inference from silence, which does not abridge the right to silence.

Mr. Maclean : In answer to the points made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael), we robustly reject any suggestion that clauses 29 to 33 are improper, inadequate or badly drafted. As we said in Committee, they have received widespread support and we look forward to a robust debate on them.

It is clear that service law needs to mirror and closely to follow the changes that we have made in civilian law. I do not know when military law was invented. There is no point in raking over the historical coals that decided that the manual of military law would be based initially on principles of English law rather than Scots law. That is clearly a fait accompli. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to ensure that the manual of military law keeps pace with the civilian law on which that manual was based. All hon. Members will agree that the military must operate by the same code of practice and by the same manual of military law throughout the United Kingdom. Unique and distinctive as is the contribution of the Scots to the British armed forces, it would be absolutely impossible and impractical to try now to operate a separate code of military law based on Scottish principles of law.

Dr. Godman : I seek an assurance from the Minister that, in the example I gave, someone convicted by a court martial in Scotland would have the right, as is the case now, to appeal to an Appeal Court in Edinburgh.

Mr. Maclean : I can absolutely give that assurance. The point is that the Appeal Court in Edinburgh will implement whatever law it is deciding on at the time. The Appeal Court in Edinburgh may implement much mercantile law ; much world mercantile law is based on principles of English law. The Appeal Court may implement European Community laws, and is perfectly able to do that. At the moment, the Appeal Court is making an appeal decision based on the manual of military law, which the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) says is based on English principles. As an Englishman, he does not like that. As a Scot, I am happy to accept that state of affairs.

The Appeal Court in Edinburgh is perfectly capable of coming to judgments based on the manual of military law, whoever invented it and whichever principles it contains. The fact that the manual may be amended and adapted to take in the principles enshrined in clauses 29 to 33 does not invalidate the case for the Appeal Court in Edinburgh to hear any appeals from any soldiers tried in courts martial in Scotland. Of course the Appeal Court in Edinburgh can do so just as excellently as it does now.

The hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) was absolutely right in his brief contribution because he mentioned the Diplock courts. That has pulled the rug from under the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan). It is possible

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to proceed with new clause 75 now, as my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Ministry of Defence wish, because it will merely implement the sensible changes in the manual of military law which are included in clauses 29 to 33. No discourtesy was intended. The House would take it amiss if I told it that the Ministry of Defence had noticed that the change would be necessary for military law, but that we intended to do nothing about it. Of course it was right to so something about it. I commend the new clause to the House. Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill .

New Clause 76 --

Police detention after charge

.--(1) Section 38 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (which requires an arrested person charged with an offence to be released except in specified circumstances) shall be amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)(a), for sub-paragraphs (ii) and (iii) there shall be substituted the following sub-paragraphs

"(ii) the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the person arrested will fail to appear in court to answer to bail ; (iii) in the case of a person arrested for an imprisonable offence, the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested is necessary to prevent him from committing an offence ;

(iv) in the case of a person arrested for an offence which is not an imprisonable offence, the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested is necessary to prevent him from causing physical injury to any other person or from causing loss of or damage to property ;

(v) the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested is necessary to prevent him from interfering with the administration of justice or with the investigation of offences or of a particular offence ; or (vi) the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested is necessary for his own protection ;".

(3) After subsection (2), there shall be inserted the following subsection

"(2A) The custody officer, in taking the decisions required by subsection (1)(a) and (b) above (except (a)(i) and (vi) and (b)(ii)), shall have regard to the same considerations as those which a court is required to have regard to in taking the corresponding decisions under paragraph 2 of Part I of Schedule 1 to the Bail Act 1976." (4) After subsection (7), there shall be inserted the following subsection

"(7A) In this section "imprisonable offence", has the same meaning as in Schedule 1 to the Bail Act 1976.".'.-- [Mr. Maclean.] Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Maclean : I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : With this we may discuss the following : Amendment No. 29, in page 13, line 32, at end insert

( ) infanticide

( ) attempted infanticide'.

Government amendments Nos. 105 to 107.

Mr. Maclean : The Government gave an undertaking in Committee to consider amending the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to enable a custody officer to detain a person after charge to prevent him from committing an

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offence. New clause 76 is a result of that consideration. We believe that it achieves what the police service seeks, which is to have set out in legislation in the clearest terms the powers of a police custody officer to detain when he believes such detention is necessary to prevent offending.

The new clause does more. It would be irresponsible not to think about the considerations that it might be appropriate to add to ensure the proper use of the new power. In Committee, the Opposition tabled an amendment in which they sought to give the police the power to detain a person charged with any offence to prevent offending. In our view, that power would be far too wide ranging as it would apply to people charged with a minor offence. We believe that it is sensible to make the same sort of distinctions as are made in the Bail Act 1976 and to require a custody officer to have regard to wider considerations when he decides whether to detain or to release a person.

At present, the police can detain an individual after charge to prevent him from causing physical injury, or loss of or damage to property. There are offences, such as those involving drug dealing, which do not sit easily within that definition but which can cause considerable harm. The police need to be certain that they have the power to detain people who are likely to commit such offences ; at the moment they are uncertain.

We propose to give the police the power to detain an individual to prevent any type of offending. However, the new power will apply only when a person has been charged with an imprisonable offence. The Bail Act, which governs court bail, also makes a careful distinction between individuals charged with imprisonable offences and individuals charged with non-imprisonable offences. The Government want the police to be certain of the basis on which they make decisions to detain or to release. To that end, we propose that they be required to have regard to a number of relevant considerations, as the courts are required to do under the Bail Act. Those considerations are the nature and seriousness of the offence, the person's character, antecedents and community ties, the person's record under previous grants of bail and the strength of the evidence against him.

I do not propose to alter the grounds for detention where a person has been charged with a non-imprisonable offence. It is essential that police keep their power to detain a person to prevent physical injury, loss or damage to deal with those who represent a threat to persons or property. In taking that and other decisions under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the custody officer will also be required to have regard to the wider considerations that I have mentioned. I hope that the House will accept the new clause, which confirms the Government's determination to tackle reoffending, while recognising that there might be circumstances in which detention is not appropriate or justified.

On amendments Nos. 105 and 106, the Government believe that bail hostels offer the courts an important option when taking the decision to remand. If the courts are unwilling to release a person unconditionally back into the community, the requirement to reside at a bail hostel and observe its rules may be enough to ensure that the defendant keeps to his bail and out of trouble. But bail to a bail hostel is very much a last alternative to custody and ranks close behind a remand to prison in terms of level of restriction. In coming to such a decision, the court will draw on advice and its understanding of bail hostel provision. The views of the probation service, the

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prosecution and the defence will be sought. The magistrates will probably have visited a bail hostel and will be aware of the regime operated there. The nature of that decision-making process and the fact that bail hostels are one step down from a remand prison has caused the Government to consider whether it would be appropriate to allow the police the power to impose the condition as part of police bail.

The workings of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act require custody officers to make a bail decision very early on, hours after an arrest, with little information and without the benefit of the advice that is available to the courts. The Government are taking steps to improve the information available to custody officers--for example, information about previous behaviour on bail. But there is a world of difference between the deliberations of the courtroom and the decision made in a custody suite of an inner-city police station at 1 o'clock in the morning. As I said, remand to a bail hostel is a fairly serious step. It is not in the same category of restriction as having to keep away from prosecution witness "x" or address "y". As the House will know, the Government have moved quickly to implement the recommendation of the royal commission that the police be allowed to attach conditions to bail once a person has been charged. We believe that the police will impose sensible conditions to ensure that individuals do not abscond, commit an offence on bail, interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice. We do not think that the power to impose, as a condition of bail, residency at a bail hostel is an appropriate one for the police. That does not mean that remand to a bail hostel is ruled out entirely when the custody officer believes it to be an appropriate condition. The officer can detain the person overnight if he has reasonable grounds under PACE and pass on his view on the suitability of a bail hostel condition to the prosecution to put before the court. In such cases, I have little doubt that courts will incline towards such a condition, but it remains a decision that the court alone should take, not the police.

I shall say a word or two about amendment No. 107, in response to a discussion in Committee on clause 26, which relates to amendment No. 107. My hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Evans) asked for the removal of the phrase

"in the hands of the prosecutor"

which in his view was ambiguous and unnecessary. We undertook to reflect further on that. Having considered the wording again, we are prepared to make the amendments sought in Committee by my hon. Friend. It is clear from subsection (1) that it is the prosecutor who makes an application. It is implicit in that the prosecutor will decide whether an application is justified and, if so, what information he requires to support the application. I know that my hon. Friend will regard that as one less constitutional outrage that he has encountered in the Bill. I hope that he is content with the amendment, which removes the ambiguity that gave him concern. I commend the amendments and the Government new clause to the House.

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5.15 pm

Mr. Michael : I am sure that the Minister was disappointed that the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Evans) was not here to applaud his final comments, but at least I am able to welcome the Minister's response to the arguments advanced by the Opposition in Committee. I do not wish to delay the House, but the Minister has made it clear that there have been detailed considerations.

Mr. Oliver Heald (Hertfordshire, North) : I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, as he did very generously in Committee. Does he agree that a number of Conservative Members adavanced the same arguments in Committee, including myself ?

Mr. Michael : I noticed the hon. Gentleman's presence in Committee from time to time, and indeed members on both sides of the Committee commented on the issue. However, I speak for the Opposition, not for the hon. Gentleman.

I shall not delay the House on a point of detail, but the Minister acknowledged the fact that there had been detailed consideration and that there are complexities in the proposals that he has advanced following consideration of the points that we made. Therefore, will the Minister agree to provide information on the way in which the new clause will affect the position--in effect, the note on the new clause that would have been available had the proposal been included in the Bill before it went into Committee ? Will he at least do so for Committee members who have taken an interest in the issue ? I gained some knowledge of bail hostels during my period as a member of a probation committee. I understand the sensitivity with which the Minister approaches the matter. I recognise that there are difficulties, but there may be circumstances, for instance when a person has been resident in a bail hostel, when consultation with the probation service is immediately available. I recognise, however, that the Minister's suggestion that the matter should be decided by a court has merit. After today's deliberations, could he provide information on the reasoning that led him to introduce the new clause ? That would assist us in considering the matter further. It is a delicate matter, but it would be a good thing if conditions could be imposed to allow for those rare circumstances in which someone should not be held in custody. I do not seek, however, to divide the House on that matter or to delay the Minister further in the debate.

Mr. Shersby : I warmly welcome the new clause. It is very important that a custody officer has at his disposal the clearest possible guidance on the grounds on which a person can be detained. The new clause will be extremely valuable in making that possible. Most hon. Members know that the job of the custody officer is one of the most difficult and responsible jobs carried out by a member of the police service. As my hon. Friend the Minister said, decisions often have to be made in the middle of the night and those decisions have to be the right ones. It is essential that the custody officer is absolutely clear about the decisions that he makes and is fully informed about how the law is intended to operate. The new clause is a great improvement and I welcome it without reservation. The new clause is a major step forward. I hope that it will bring to an end the reoffending on bail which has been

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the cause of such great concern to hon. Members on both sides of the House. I congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary on ensuring that the matter has been dealt with in the new clause.

Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale) : I endorse all that my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) has said. The measure is long overdue. There is nothing more disheartening for our policemen and policewomen than to arrest criminals, only to see them released on bail hours later and then to discover that they have interfered with witnesses or committed further offences. The new clause provides a much better balance than has existed under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. When the matter is considered in another place, I hope that the warm support for the new clause will be noted.

Mr. Maclean : I thank my hon. Friends for their warm welcome for the new clause. Of course, I am willing to write to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) with some of the details that he requested.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 79 --

Management of secure accommodation

.--(1) The Children Act 1989 shall be amended as follows. (2) In section 53 (provision and management of community homes) (a) in subsection (3) (homes which may be community homes) (i) in paragraph (a), for the words "managed, equipped and maintained" there shall be substituted the words "equipped, maintained and (subject to subsection (3A)) managed" ; and (ii) in paragraph (b)(i), for the words "management, equipment and maintenance" there shall be substituted the words "equipment, maintenance and (subject to subsection (3B)) management" ; and (b) after subsection (3) there shall be inserted the following subsections

"(3A) A local authority may make arrangements for the management by another person of accommodation provided by the local authority for the purpose of restricting the liberty of children.

(3B) Where a local authority are to be responsible for the management of a community home provided by a voluntary organisation, the local authority may, with the consent of the body of managers constituted by the instrument of management for the home, make arrangements for the management by another person of accommodation provided for the purpose of restricting the liberty of children.". (3) In Part II of Schedule 4 (management of controlled and assisted community homes)

(a) in paragraph 3(4), after the word "managers" there shall be inserted the words ", except in so far as, under section 53(3B), any of the accommodation is to be managed by another person." ; and (b) in paragraph 3(5), after the word "body" there shall be inserted the words " ; and similarly, to the extent that a contract so provides, as respects anything done, liability incurred or property acquired by a person by whom, under section 53(3B), any of the accommodation is to be managed".'.-- [Mr. Howard.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 1 --

Criminal injuries compensation

Her Majesty's Government shall not bring into effect a new Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme unless and until the

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relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 shall have been repealed and a new scheme introduced not by executive order pursuant to the Royal Prerogative but by Act of Parliament.'.-- [Mr. Blair.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Tony Blair (Sedgefield) : I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : With this it will be convenient to take the following : amendment (a) to the new clause, after Compensation Scheme', insert

in any part of the United Kingdom and based upon any system of fixed levels of award for particular types of injury.'.

New clause 48-- Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

. In section 171 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, for subsection (2) there is substituted the following subsection

"Sections 108 to 117 of and Schedules 6 and 7 to this Act (as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) shall come into force six months after that Act is passed.".'

New clause 49-- Factors to be considered in determining compensation

. Schedule 7 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 is amended as follows :

(a) in paragraph 4(3), after "cases", there shall be inserted the words

"but may not determine particular amounts for particular cases" ; and

(b) the following new paragraph is inserted after paragraph 10 "10(A) In determining the amount of compensation available under this Part of this Act, the Board may take into account any factors which appear to it to be appropriate.".'.

Mr. Blair : The new clause deals with the new criminal injuries compensation scheme. Nothing so completely exposes the hollowness of the Government's claims on law and order than scrapping the existing system of compensation for criminal injuries.

We have one of the finest systems in the world for the individual compensation of victims. It is a model that other countries have agreed to and followed. That system is to be replaced by a wholly different one, based on a crude tariff drawn up by the Government, which will ignore the circumstances of victims when compensating them for their injury.

The new scheme was introduced after a sham consultation, and was denounced by Victim Support, the police and organisations representing the criminally injured. The chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board--a distinguished former Cabinet Minister--described it as "fundamentally flawed" and "manifestly unfair", and two former Law Lords said that it was illegal. It was also introduced with a deplorable lack of candour about its true motivation. Even for this Government and their legislation, that is quite a record.

Of the people whose views were sought, I know no one who supported the new scheme, and it is the subject of a case for judicial review in the courts, which is to be heard in May.

The present scheme was introduced in 1964, and compensates victims of violent crime on roughly the same basis as the civil law--compensation is based on the loss to the individual, which is the very nature of the criminal injuries compensation scheme. The present scheme therefore takes into account any future loss of earnings, as well as loss of amenity. In the case of a fatal injury,

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