Coroners and Justice Bill - Justice Committee Contents

1  Introduction

1.  The Coroners and Justice Bill was presented on 14 January 2009 and second reading was set for 26 January. This report highlights the work of this Committee and its predecessor,[1] on matters related to the bill, to inform debate on second reading and in public bill committee.

2.  The provisions of the bill covered by substantive work undertaken by this Committee, or its predecessor, are principally: reforms to the law in relation to coroners and to the certification and registration of deaths (excepting provisions relating to treasure trove); amendments to the Data Protection Act 1998, including changes to the powers of the Information Commissioner and new provisions relating to data-sharing; and the establishment of a "Sentencing Council for England and Wales", with a new remit, replacing the current Sentencing Guidelines Council and Sentencing Advisory Panel.

3.  The relevant material is as follows:




—  Sir Igor Judge, then President of the Queen's Bench Division, Head of Criminal Justice and Deputy Chairman of the Sentencing Guidelines Council; and Nicola Padfield, Faculty of Law, Cambridge University on a sentencing commission; and

—  Cindy Barnett, Chairman, and Nicola Stell, Chairman of the Sentencing Policy and Practice Committee, Magistrates' Association, Tan Ikram, President, and Greg Powell, former President, London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association, on sentencing guidelines for magistrates' courts (HC 279-i of Session 2007-08).

  • Fifth Report from the Justice Committee, Session 2007-08, Towards effective sentencing, HC 184 (Government reply, Cm 7476);
  • Oral evidence taken by the Justice Committee on Tuesday 14 October 2008 from Professor Andrew Ashworth QC, Oxford University, and Professor Mike Hough, King's College London, on a sentencing commission (uncorrected transcript, to be published as HC 1095-i)); and
  • Oral evidence taken by the Justice Committee in its inquiry into the allocation of resources within the criminal justice system ('justice reinvestment') (uncorrected transcripts, to be published as HC 425-i to -x of Session 2007-08 and HC 54-i and -ii of Session 2008-09 ).

The Constitutional Affairs Committee became the Justice Committee from the beginning of the 2007-08 parliamentary session. Back

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Prepared 23 January 2009