Amendments proposed to the Courts Bill [܃f4lords] - continued House of Commons

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Christopher Leslie

NS2

To move the following Schedule:—

'Discharge of fines by unpaid work

Part 1

Work orders

      Introductory

    (1) This Part of this Schedule applies if a person aged 18 or over ("P") is liable to pay a sum which—

            (a)   consists of or includes a fine, and

            (b)   is or is treated for the purposes of Part 3 of the 1980 Act as a sum adjudged to be paid by conviction of a magistrates' court.

    (2) In this Part of this Schedule—

"fine" does not include any pecuniary penalty, pecuniary compensation or pecuniary forfeiture payable on conviction;"the prescribed hourly sum" means such sum as may be prescribed by regulations;"regulations" means regulations made under this Schedule by the Lord Chancellor;"the relevant court" means—

            (a)   the court imposing the liability to pay the relevant sum, or

            (b)   if that liability has previously been imposed, the magistrates' court responsible for enforcing payment of the relevant sum;

"the relevant sum" means the sum for which P is liable as mentioned in sub-paragraph (1), but excluding any pecuniary compensation or any sum due in respect of prosecution costs.

      Cases where work order may be made

     The relevant court may, on the application of a fines officer or of its own motion, make an order under this Schedule (a "work order") where—

            (a)   it appears to the court that in view of P's financial circumstances all the following methods of enforcing payment of the relevant sum are likely to be impracticable or inappropriate—

            (i) a warrant of distress under section 76 of the 1980 Act,

            (ii) an application to the High Court of county court for enforcement under section 87 of the 1980 Act,

            (iii) an order under section 88 of the 1980 Act,

            (iv) an attachment of earnings order,

            (v) an application for deductions to be made by virtue of section 24 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (recovery of fines etc. by deductions from income support etc.), and

            (vi) a collection order under Schedule (Collection of fines),

            (b)   it appears to the court that P is a suitable person to perform unpaid work under this Schedule, and

            (c)   P consents to the making of the order.

      Provisions of order

    (1) A work order is an order requiring P to perform unpaid work for a specified number of hours, in accordance with instructions to be given by the fines officer, in order to discharge by virtue of this Schedule his liability for the relevant sum.

    (2) The order must also—

            (a)   state the amount of the relevant sum, the amount of the fine and the amount of any other part of the relevant sum,

            (b)   either specify the fines officer who is to have in relation to P the powers conferred by this Schedule or specify that any fines officer working at a specified fines office is to have those powers in relation to P, and

            (c)   specify a person ("the supervisor") who is to act as supervisor in relation to P.

    (3) The specified number of hours is to be determined by dividing the relevant sum by the prescribed hourly sum and, where the result is not a whole number, adjusting the result upwards to the next whole number.

    (4) A work order must specify a date ("the specified date") by which the required hours of unpaid work must be performed.

    (5) In the following provisions of this Part of this Schedule "the fines officer", in relation to P, means the fines officer specified in the work order or, if the work order specifies a fines office, any fines officer working at the specified office.

      Effect of order on enforcement of payment

    (1) Where a work order has been made in respect of the relevant sum, payment of that sum may not be enforced against P unless the order is revoked.

    (2) On making a work order, the court must revoke any order relating to the enforcement of the payment of the relevant sum.

      Appointment of, and duties of, supervisor

    (1) A person may not be appointed as the supervisor without his consent.

    (2) It is the duty of the supervisor—

            (a)   to monitor P's compliance with the requirements of the work order, and

            (b)   to provide the court with such information as the court may require relating to P's compliance with those requirements.

      Obligations of person subject to work order, and effect of compliance

    (1) Where a work order is in force, P must perform for the number of hours specified in the order such work, at such places and at such times as he may be instructed by the fines officer.

    (2) The fines officer must ensure, as far as practicable, that any instructions given to P in pursuance of the work order are such as to avoid—

            (a)   any conflict with P's religious beliefs, and

            (b)   any interference with the times, if any, at which he normally works or attends school or any other educational establishment.

    (3) If before the specified date P performs work in accordance with the instructions of the fines officer for the specified number of hours, his liability to pay the relevant sum is discharged.

      Effect of payment

    (1) Where a work order has been made in respect of any sum—

            (a)   on payment of the whole of the sum to any person authorised to receive it, the work order ceases to have effect, and

            (b)   on payment of part of the sum to any such person, the number of hours specified in the order is to be taken to be reduced by a proportion corresponding to that which the part paid bears to the whole of the relevant sum.

    (2) In calculating any reduction required by sub-paragraph (1)(b), any fraction of an hour is to be disregarded.

      Revocation or variation of order

    (1) If, on the application of the fines officer, it appears to the magistrates' court that P is failing or has failed to comply with a work order without reasonable excuse, the court must revoke the order.

    (2) If, on the application of the fines officer, it appears to the magistrates' court—

            (a)   that P has failed to comply with a work order but has a reasonable excuse for the failure, or

            (b)   that, because of a change in circumstances since the order was made, P is unlikely to be able to comply with a work order,


            the court may revoke the order or postpone the specified date.

    (3) In this paragraph "the magistrates' court", in relation to a work order, means any magistrates' court acting in the local justice area in which the court which made the order was sitting.

    (4) A work order may be revoked under sub-paragraph (1) or (2), or varied under sub-paragraph (2), before the specified date (as well as on or after that date).

    (5) Regulations may provide for the fines officer to have the power to issue a summons for the purpose of ensuring that P attends the magistrates' court to which an application has been made under sub-paragraph (1) or (2).

      Allowing for work done

    (1) If it appears to the magistrates' court revoking a work order under paragraph 8(1) or (2) that P has performed at least one hour of unpaid work in accordance with the instructions of the fines officer, the court must by order specify the number of hours of work that have been performed; and for this purpose any fraction of an hour is to be disregarded.

    (2) Where the court has specified a number of hours under this paragraph, P's liability to pay the relevant sum is discharged to the extent of the prescribed hourly sum in respect of each hour.

      Effect of revocation

    10 (1) Where a work order is revoked under paragraph 8(1) or (2), immediate payment of the relevant sum (subject to any reduction under paragraph 9(2)) may be enforced against P.

    (2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not limit the court's power, on or after the revocation of the work order, to allow time for payment or to direct payment by instalments.

      Order not directly enforceable

    11  The obligations of P under a work order are not enforceable against him except by virtue of paragraph 10(1).

      Evidence of supervisor

    12 (1) This paragraph applies where—

            (a)   it falls to a magistrates' court to determine whether P has performed unpaid work in accordance with a work order, and

            (b)   a justice of the peace is satisfied—

            (i) that the supervisor is likely to be able to give evidence that may assist the court in determining that matter, and

            (ii) that the supervisor will not voluntarily attend as a witness.

    (2) The justice may issue a summons directed to that person requiring him to attend before the court at the time and place appointed in the summons to give evidence.

      Provision of information

    13  Regulations may—

            (a)   require a work order to contain prescribed information,

            (b)   require the court making a work order to give a copy of the order to such persons as may be prescribed, and

            (c)   require the court revoking or varying a work order to give notice of the revocation or variation to such persons as may be prescribed.

Part 2

Consequential amendments

      Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (c. 43)

     14 In section 82 of the 1980 Act (restriction on power to impose imprisonment for default) after subsection (4A) insert—

          "(4B)   The cases in which the offender's default may be regarded for the purposes of subsection (4)(b)(i) as being attributable to his wilful refusal or culpable neglect include any case in which—

          (a) he has refused, otherwise than on reasonable grounds, to consent to a work order proposed to be made under Schedule (Discharge of fines by unpaid work) to the Courts Act 2003 (discharge of fines by unpaid work), or

          (b) he has without reasonable excuse failed to comply with such an order."

      National Minimum Wage Act 1998 (c. 39)

     15 After section 45 of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 insert—

          "45A     Persons discharging fines by unpaid work

         A person does not qualify for the national minimum wage in respect of any work that he does in pursuance of a work order under Schedule (Discharge of fines by unpaid work) to the Courts Act 2003 (discharge of fines by unpaid work).".'.


ORDER OF THE HOUSE [9th JUNE 2003]

That the following provisions shall apply to the Courts Bill [Lords]—

Committal

    1.   The Bill shall be committed to a Standing Committee.

Standing Committee

    2.   Proceedings in the Standing Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on 10th July 2003.

    3.   The Standing Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Consideration and Third Reading

    4.   Proceedings on consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion five and a half hours after their commencement.

    5.   Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion six and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on consideration.

    6.   Sessional Order B (programming committees) made on 28th June 2001 shall not aply to proceedings on consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

    7.   Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments or on any further message from the Lords) may be programmed.


ORDER OF THE COMMITTEE [26th JUNE 2003, AS AMENDED
ON 1st JULY 2003]

       That—

      (1) during proceedings on the Courts Bill [Lords] the Standing Committee shall meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m., except that the Committee shall not meet on Thursday 3rd July;

      (2) 8 sittings in all shall be allotted to the consideration of the Bill by the Committee;

      (3) the proceedings to be taken at the sittings shall be as shown in the second column of the Table below and shall be taken in the order so shown;

      (4) the proceedings which under paragraph (3) are to be taken at any sitting shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in the third column of the Table;

      (5) paragraph (3) does not prevent proceedings being taken (in the order shown in the second column of the Table) at any earlier sitting than that provided for under paragraph (3) if previous proceedings have already been concluded.

TABLE

Sitting
Proceedings
Time for conclusion of proceedings
26th June (a.m.), (p.m.)
1st July (a.m.), (p.m.)
Clauses 1 to 4, Schedule 1;
Clauses 5 to 6, Schedule 2;
Clauses 7 to 35; Clauses 37 to 45, Schedule 4; Clauses 46 to 57.
5.00 p.m. on 1st July
8th July (a.m.), (p.m.)Clauses 58 to 65; Schedule 5; Clauses 66 to 94; Clause 97, Schedule 6; Clauses 98 to 104; Clause 107; Schedules 7 and 8; Clauses 108 to 110.5.00 p.m.
10th July (a.m.), (p.m.)Clause 36, Schedule 3; Clauses 95, 96, 105 and 106; new Clauses, new Schedules and any remaining proceedings on the Bill.5.00 p.m.


 
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