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Lord Mackay of Drumadoon moved Amendment No. 54:

Page 97, line 5, column 3, at end insert--
("In section 63, subsection (1)(d) and in subsection (2)(b)(ii) the words "or (d)".")

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 24. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon moved Amendment No. 55:

Page 97, line 16, column 3, at end insert--
("In section 124, subsections (3) to (5).")

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 22. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Then, Standing Order No. 44 having been suspended (pursuant to Resolution of 18th March), Bill read a third time.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. In speaking to that Motion, I hasten to assure your Lordships that I do not intend to speak for 52 minutes, which was one of the longer contributions during the Bill's Committee stage.

Obviously, your Lordships have given careful scrutiny to the Bill, albeit that the Report stage lasted a shorter period than might otherwise have proved to be the case. The Government believe--and I believe--that the Bill contains many useful provisions, some of which have perhaps attracted more attention during your Lordships' deliberations. We believe that they offer much protection and reassurance to the people of Scotland and that in many respects they will further improve the administration of Scotland's criminal justice system.

I wish to acknowledge and offer considerable personal thanks to noble Lords who have contributed to our deliberations. The consideration of the Bill in your Lordships' House followed upon and to some extent ran in tandem with consideration of the Crime (Sentences)

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Bill. There was some similarity between certain of the provisions. Nevertheless, noble Lords who took part contributed much and I am grateful to them.

On my own Benches, I thank my noble friends, in particular Lady Carnegy and Lord Balfour. I personally enjoyed the exchanges over the Dispatch Box with the noble Lord, Lord Sewel, and my colleague in the Faculty of Advocates, the noble Lord, Lord Macaulay. I regret that he cannot be with us today. I enjoyed my exchanges with my former colleague on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford. During the past three months he has been on a steep learning curve about the law of Scotland, but I hasten to assure him that it is not as steep as the learning curve I have been on in respect of the law of England. However, I have certainly enjoyed and much appreciated the contributions made by the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, and the noble Lord, Lord Mackie, whom I am pleased to see in his place.

I said on Second Reading that I welcome the contribution which noble and learned Lords can make to the deliberations of your Lordships' House. It would be wrong for me to suggest that I have always agreed with them. But it is quite obvious that the noble and learned Lords, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord McCluskey and Lord Clyde, have put a great deal of thought and preparation into the speeches which they made. I am sure that they have proved to be of benefit to us all.

I am grateful to the Whips who have supported me; in particular, my noble friend Lord Courtown. He has been involved with many other major Bills in this current Session. He has constantly had to be in touch with my officials, who are also due considerable thanks.

It is unfortunate that the timetable for the Bill has to some extent been restricted. However, there can be no doubt that your Lordships' House has performed a very valuable role in giving detailed scrutiny to this very important piece of legislation.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Lord Mackay of Drumadoon.)

Lord Sewel: My Lords, this has not been a particularly easy Bill, especially for those of us who are not lawyers. We have listened to the lawyers and have benefited from their contributions.

There have been a number of magic moments in our discussions and debates, not least the recent one when the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, drew our attention to the problem of unopened bottles of drink. I must tell the noble Earl that I have a solution for that problem and I am quite happy to share it with him afterwards.

We have undoubtedly improved this Bill as we have considered it in this House. It is a much improved Bill from that which we received from the other place. During our discussions, we have been indebted to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate for his continuing patience and courtesy to all of us who have participated in the debate. Indeed, he has been painless--I was going to say painful--in the length of

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his explanations on occasion. In fact, on some occasions it seemed that it was not so much Drumadoon as the full text of "Brigadoon" which we were hearing.

It is customary on these occasions, and rightly, to thank those who have contributed to the work of the Opposition Benches. Our researcher, Robert McGeachy, has been outstanding in giving us the support which we clearly needed. I should like to thank also Mr. Michael Clancy of the Law Society and representatives of CoSLA, who have made us aware of its concerns. As I say, we have improved the Bill and it is now in a position to make a contribution to the criminal justice system in Scotland.

6.3 p.m.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: My Lords, on these Benches we are extremely grateful for the Sutherland Committee Report which has led to the establishment in the Bill of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. We are also extremely grateful for Amendments Nos. 2 and 4 on today's Marshalled List.

I too should like to express my thanks to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate, everyone on the Treasury Bench and, undoubtedly, all their advisers for handling all my amendments, which were designed to put up markers for the future as much as anything else. It was a trial to have two major criminal justice Bills running in parallel, particularly as they were not the same despite the fact that they were often referred to as being so.

I believe genuinely that this Bill continues the search for effective community sentences, and I certainly welcome that. I have to say that this may be the last Scottish criminal justice Bill to be discussed in this Parliament. That depends on the outcome of the election on 1st May and possibly a number of referenda.

I came to this Report Stage regretting the lack of opportunity to scrutinise the Bill. But I am now satisfied with the issues which were concerning me. I understand why we are in this position and, again, I thank the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate for answering all my points.

6.5 p.m.

Lord Hope of Craighead: My Lords, I should like to add my words of thanks to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate for the constructive way in which he has approached the remaining stages of the Bill. Some parts of the Bill will remain controversial but there is no doubt that, as the noble and learned Lord said, the Bill contains a number of very important and useful provisions.

I am glad to see the provisions in Part II pass through this House. Those deal in particular with the problem of miscarriages of justice. We must remember that those provisions are not retrospective and clearly it is important that they be brought into force as soon as possible. It is perhaps moving rather quickly to look ahead to the commencement order but there are certainly provisions in the Bill which deserve to be part of the

19 Mar 1997 : Column 967

law of Scotland without delay. For that reason alone, I look back with gratitude at what the noble and learned Lord has been able to achieve.

I am grateful also for the care which the noble and learned Lord has taken in responding to one or two suggestions which I made in relation to both this Bill and the English Bill. Overall, I am quite sure that this is a much-improved Bill from that which reached this House from another place. For that, much of the thanks must go to the noble and learned Lord and those who have advised him.

6.7 p.m.

The Earl of Balfour: My Lords, I should like to thank my noble and learned friend for the many letters which he has answered about technical questions which I have asked. I wish that that I had had more time to study every single word in the Bill. It was not an easy Bill to follow because, for the most part, it amended other legislation. I find that, therefore, it takes a long time to read the Bill. However, I am most grateful to my noble and learned friend the Lord Advocate.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, for taking on a great measure of work on the Bill. Perhaps I may say as a Scottish Peer, that that is a sign of co-operation between Scotland and Wales which is not always evident. I should also like to thank my colleague, my noble friend Lord Mar and Kellie, for doing a great deal of the work.

6.8 p.m.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, I should quite simply like to say that the way in which my noble and learned friend the Lord Advocate has conducted the Bill has been quite remarkable. He has shown the most astonishing stamina. Moreover, at times he has been subjected to a good deal of difficult argument. Sometimes his temper must have been severely tested. But he passed the test and I believe that the whole House will agree with me that he has acquitted himself admirably on this occasion.

On Question, Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.

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