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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I think I have already spoken to this amendment, which was grouped together with Amendment No. 40. The answers I gave before remain the same.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: Perhaps I might come to the rescue of my colleague.

Lord Rogan: Please do.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: He sought my advice and I advised him not to indulge in moving his other amendments, because they were to Clause 5, not to Clause 4. If I was incorrect, I plead guilty.

Lord Rogan: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 58 to 65 not moved.]

Clause 5 agreed to.

Lord Desai moved Amendment No. 66:

    After Clause 5, insert the following new clause—

(a) legal knowledge and expertise,
(b) intellectual and analytical ability,
(c) decisiveness,
(d) communication skills,
(e) authority,
(f) integrity,
(g) fairness,
(h) understanding of people and society,
(i) maturity and sound judgement,
(j) courtesy and humanity,
(k) commitment to public service, and
(l) understanding of and commitment to human rights principles."

The noble Lord said: This new clause sets out the criteria for judicial appointment which should be used by the commission. It reflects more or less what was said by the review in paragraph 6.20, with the addition only of the last criterion,

    "understanding of and commitment to human rights principles".

These are obvious and good criteria to adopt. I beg to move.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government do not take issue with the criteria specified. Indeed, my noble friend Lord Desai is right to say that largely they reflect the criteria listed in paragraph 6.20 of the review as being the typical selection criteria which are currently applied.

However, the review did not recommend that these criteria should be made statutory, presumably for the good reason that such matters are normally dealt with administratively. We believe that they should continue to be dealt with in that way. Including these criteria in statute would remove the element of flexibility which is essential to the successful operation of any appointments procedure.

However, I repeat that my noble friend Lord Desai is quite right; these are precisely the skills and abilities that we seek to have inculcated into our judiciary.

Baroness O'Cathain: I could agree with the amendment, but if a list of this kind is put on the face of the Bill, someone will seek to include a stupid criterion, such as having blue eyes instead of green eyes. That may seem ridiculous, but it is my experience that noble Lords try to remove anything of this nature from the face of a Bill. That is absolutely right because to include it would be silly. It would not allow the

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flexibility necessary for people making judgments. Furthermore, there could be other essential qualities which might crop up and which would not be covered.

Lord Desai: I thank my noble friend and the noble Baroness for their interventions. In my view, I am sure that both of them would satisfy all these criteria.

Lord Dubs: And more.

Lord Desai: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 3 [Appointment to listed judicial offices]:

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 67:

    Page 82, line 30, leave out sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) and insert—

"(2) In subsection (2), after "2(2)(b)" insert "or 9(4)".
(3) In subsection (4), omit "9(4),"."

The noble Lord said: This is a purely technical and consequential amendment. The report of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee accepted that 16 powers to amend the Bill or other legislation were appropriate. The Committee, however, recommended four changes in favour of the affirmative procedure. As always, I am grateful for the sterling work which is carried out by the committee. It has almost become the norm that we pay careful attention to its recommendations.

Government Amendment No. 250—as it will become—to Clause 89 will bring about the changes that were recommended. This means the introduction of a new Clause 89. As a result, this paragraph of Schedule 3, which referred to Clause 89, has been amended. I stress that it is purely to accept a protective recommendation by the relevant committee. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Schedule 3 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Rogan: On behalf of my noble friends Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Lord Laird and Lord Kilclooney, I give notice that it is our intention to oppose the Question that Schedule 3 shall be the third schedule to the Bill.

Lord Glentoran: I did not fully understand the question put by the noble Lord, Lord Rogan. Did I understand him to have put the Question that Schedule 3 shall not stand part of the Bill?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The noble Lord, Lord Rogan, was attempting to assist us by indicating that on Report—though not at this stage—he will raise his Question on Schedule 3.

Schedule 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6 [Removal from most senior judicial offices]:

[Amendments Nos. 68 to 72 not moved.]

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Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 73:

    Page 5, line 28, after "office" insert "for a maximum of three months"

The noble Lord said: The amendment concerns the potential happenings should the Lord Chief Justice be suspended. As I understand the Bill, if the tribunal recommends that the Lord Chief Justice should be suspended, he could be suspended and parked for the rest of his life without anything further happening. The purpose of my amendment is to ensure that, were a tribunal to recommend the suspension of the Lord Chief Justice, somebody would have to do something about it within three months. I beg to move.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Clause 6 provides for the removal of judges from the most senior judicial offices. Amendment No. 73 would place a time limit of three months on the suspension of the Lord Chief Justice while the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor consider making motions for the presentation of an address to Her Majesty for his removal.

We expect action under this clause to be extremely rare. If it were ever taken, we hope it would be over quickly, but we cannot know for sure how much time a tribunal might take to report. For this reason, I urge the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden: I support the amendment. Of course, it is virtually inconceivable that the provision will ever be acted upon, but if it is, everybody concerned will jolly well have to get on with it. It is essential that confidence be restored to the administration in those circumstances. In my view, which I respectfully urge on my colleagues, three months is a reasonable limit to impose and to ensure that people do not put this in some pigeonhole totally inappropriately in such desperate circumstances.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Of course I hear what the noble and learned Lord says, but one can think of many scenarios that would involve adherence to the human rights provisions which would enable one to say that a longer period may be necessary. For example, if the judge were accused of a most heinous offence, such as paedophilia, it may be of the utmost importance that he or she be removed swiftly, but the investigation of those issues may well require longer than three months.

We know that if such circumstances arose, time and speed would be of the essence, but it would be wholly impossible to prescribe that all that should be done in order to meet the obligations under the Human Rights Act could be done within that timetable. Of course it should be done as speedily as reasonably practicable. I fully understand the importance of a decision being made. In the old-fashioned way, many people facing that situation would simply resign without prejudice, and we would not be left in the situation of having to impose time limits. However, it would be foolish in the

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extreme to prescribe in the Bill a time limit for suspension to which we could not adhere without transgressing other pieces of legislation.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden: I may find that, not for the first time or the last, I have completely misunderstood the point. Surely, a tribunal that has recommended that a motion be presented will not have made that recommendation without having carried out the most scrupulous investigation to secure it. Is that not the case?

7 p.m.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: As I understand the provision, it enables there to be a suspension. It says:

    "If the Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor are considering the making of motions for the presentation of an address to Her Majesty in relation to the Lord Chief Justice, the Prime Minister may suspend him from office; and if they are considering the making of such motions in relation to a Lord Justice of Appeal or a judge of the High Court the Prime Minister may suspend him from office with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice".

The Prime Minister has that ability before hearing the recommendations from the tribunal. The case may relate to bribery and corruption in public office: there is a plethora of possibilities. There are two possible situations. The Prime Minister may wish to suspend, pending receipt of the recommendation. We do not know whether the recommendation will come back within or without a three-month or other period, and it is for that reason that no time has been specified.

Members of the Committee are absolutely right in saying that the need for speed is clear. However, one would have to exercise that discretion in accordance with the law as currently enunciated and take into account the Human Rights Act 1998 and other provisions that may have an impact upon such matters. One knows the consequences of acting to the detriment of an individual who may be accused of the most heinous act. It is right to say that, bearing in mind the unusual nature of the court, it is likely to be only the most dire sort of issues that would cause us to activate the provisions in any event.

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