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22 Jun 1999 : Column 1014

Schedule 3

Criminal defence service: right to representation


Amendments made: No. 45, in page 69, line 39, leave out first 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 46, in page 69, line 42, leave out first 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 47, in page 70, line 3, leave out first 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 48, in page 70, line 5, leave out first 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 49, in page 70, line 6, leave out 'before a court'.
No. 50, in page 70, line 10, leave out first 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 51, in page 70, line 13, leave out third 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 52, in page 70, line 16, leave out 'the' and insert 'any'.
No. 53, in page 70, line 18, at end insert--
'(6) The powers of a magistrates' court for any area under this paragraph may be exercised by a single justice of the peace for the area.
(7) Any rules under section 144 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 which provide for the functions of a single justice under sub-paragraph (6) to be exercised by a justices' clerk may make different provision for different areas.'.
No. 54, in page 70, line 21, leave out first 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 55, in page 70, line 22, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 56, in page 70, line 24, leave out third 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 57, in page 70, line 31, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 58, in page 70, line 32, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 59, in page 70, line 34, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 60, in page 71, line 3, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.--[Mr. Hill.]

Schedule 4

Amendments consequential on Part I


Amendments made: No. 61, in page 71, line 16, at end insert--

'The Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (c.19)

. In section 50 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (meaning of "sentence"), at the end insert--
"(3) An order under section 17 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 is not a sentence for the purposes of this Act.".'.
No. 62, in page 71, line 23, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 63, in page 71, line 33, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 64, in page 71, line 42, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 65, in page 72, line 11, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.

22 Jun 1999 : Column 1015


No. 66, in page 73, line 40, at end insert--
'. The Supreme Court Act 1981 has effect subject to the following amendments.
. In section 28 (appeal by way of case stated from decisions of Crown Court, other than those relating to trial on indictment), at the end insert--
"(4) In subsection (2)(a), the reference to a decision of the Crown Court relating to trial on indictment does not include a decision relating to an order under section 17 of the Access to Justice Act 1999."
. In section 29 (judicial review of decisions of Crown Court, other than matters relating to trial on indictment), at the end insert--
"(6) In subsection (3), the reference to the Crown Court's jurisdiction in matters relating to trial on indictment does not include its jurisdiction relating to orders under section 17 of the Access to Justice Act 1999.".'.
No. 67, in page 73, line 41, leave out
'of the Supreme Court Act 1981'.
No. 68, in page 74, line 5, leave out 'of' and insert 'to'.
No. 69, in page 77, line 22, at end insert--
'The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c.37)

. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 has effect subject to the following amendments.
. In section 50(2) (procedure at early administrative hearing), for paragraphs (a) to (c) substitute "the accused shall be asked whether he wishes to be granted a right to representation funded by the Legal Services Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service and, if he does, the justice shall decide whether or not to grant him such a right."
. In paragraph 3(8) of Schedule 3 (matters which may be contained in a report of an application for dismissal of charges), for paragraph (g) substitute--
"(g) whether a right to representation funded by the Legal Services Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service was granted to the accused or any of the accused."
The Disability Rights Commission Act 1999

. In section 8(4)(a) of the Disability Rights Commission Act 1999 (charges to recover costs of assistance in legal proceedings subject to any charge for benefit of Legal Aid Board), for the words from "under" to "Board" substitute "imposed by section 10(7) of the Access to Justice Act 1999 and any provision in, or made under, Part I of that Act for the payment of any sum to the Legal Services Commission".'.--[Mr. Hill.]

New Clause 8

Powers of Ombudsman


'.--(1) Section 23 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (recommendations of the Legal Services Ombudsman) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1)(c) (written report of investigation to be sent to person with respect to whom recommendation is made), after "subsection (2)" insert "or an order under subsection (2A)".
(3) In paragraph (e) of subsection (2) (recommendation that costs be paid by person or body to which recommendation under paragraph (c) or (d) applies), for "which a recommendation under paragraph (c) or (d) applies" substitute "pay compensation under paragraph (c) or (d)".
(4) After that subsection insert--
"(2A) If after completing any investigation under this Act the Ombudsman considers that, rather than recommending the taking of any action by any person or professional body under paragraph (c), (d) or (e) of subsection (2), he should make an

22 Jun 1999 : Column 1016

order requiring the taking of that action by the person or body--
(a) he shall afford the person or body, and the person who made the allegation, a reasonable opportunity of appearing before him to make representations; and
(b) having considered any representations from them, he may, in reporting his conclusions, make the order."
(5) In subsections (3) and (4) (reports), after "recommendation" (in each place) insert "or order".
(6) In subsection (6) (duty to have regard to Ombudsman's report), for "subsection (1)(b) or (c)" substitute "subsection (1)(b), (c) or (d)".
(7) For the sidenote substitute "Recommendations and orders.".'.--[Mr. Vaz.]
Brought up, and read the First time.

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker: With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: Government new clause 9--Funding of Ombudsman by professional bodies Government new clause 10--The Commissioner Government new clause 11--Commissioner's functions. Government new schedule 1--Legal services complaints commissioner Government amendment No. 86.

Mr. Vaz: The Government have tabled four new clauses and a new schedule to amend the powers of the legal services ombudsman, and to establish a new post of legal services complaints commissioner. New clause 8 will amend section 23 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, which established the office of the legal services ombudsman. The ombudsman currently oversees the handling of complaints against solicitors, barristers, legal executives and licensed conveyancers by the professional bodies responsible for setting and maintaining standards of conduct and service within the legal professions. The 1990 Act allows for new bodies to come within its remit by order of the Lord Chancellor--for example, when new bodies are authorised to grant rights of audience or rights to conduct litigation to their members. The ombudsman can investigate allegations about the way in which a professional body has handled a complaint against one of its members. Section 23 of the 1990 Act sets out what the ombudsman's powers are once an investigation has been completed. These include, in subsection (2), making recommendations to the person complained about, or to the relevant professional body, or to both. Those recommendations can include the payment of compensation to the complainant, and payment to cover the costs of making the allegation. Under the current legislation, the ombudsman can make recommendations to a person or professional body only about the action that should be taken. The recommendations are not enforceable. That has not caused a problem with the professional bodies hitherto: in every case since the ombudsman scheme began in 1991, the professional bodies have complied with the ombudsman's recommendations. There are, however, a few cases each year where lawyers have refused to accept such a recommendation.

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