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Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, the noble Lord implies that the prohibition is new, but it is not; it is in the existing arrangements. It is important that people understand that. He also implies that large numbers of village shops will go out of business because of a new arrangement that is being introduced. The arrangement already exists and the village shops are operating. The rules that apply to village shops are exactly the same as those that apply to supermarkets; the issue depends on the intensity of use. If the intensity of use in supermarkets becomes mainly that of selling petrol to motorists who drive in with their cars to pick up petrol and move on, the same limit and prohibition will apply to them. However, that is not normally the case, because petrol is a smaller part of their business than selling food and other items. The noble Lord is not being entirely fair about the present position, which—I again remind him—was introduced by the government whom he supported not that long ago.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, are we going to play pat-ball over who did what? The fact is that economic conditions have changed much over the past 15 years and forecourt stalls are now a feature of the retail scene. Moreover, over the past 15 years village shops and village facilities have come under

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greater economic pressure than ever. That cannot be helped but it is a fact. We either say, "We must stick with the law as it is because that would send the wrong signal", or we must say, "This is not right because the circumstances have changed".

If the Minister can produce a single piece of evidence that shows that selling booze from small shops in villages increases the number of alcohol-related deaths from driving, I should not be standing here. The fact is that there is no such information. In Scotland, there is no public opinion for change. The reality is that we should make the change to reflect the circumstances and take a small step towards preserving the village shop. I want to test the opinion of the House.

6.20 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 232) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 107; Not-Contents, 116.

Division No. 2


Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Elton, L.
Falkland, V.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geraint, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L. [Teller]
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Hylton, L.
Jopling, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Methuen, L.
Montrose, D.
Moynihan, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Northbrook, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trumpington, B. [Teller]
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Windlesham, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jones, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Powell of Bayswater, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

4 Mar 2003 : Column 760

6.30 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 233 and 234 not moved.]

Clause 174 [Rights of entry to investigate licensable activities]:

[Amendment No. 235 not moved.]

Clause 176 [Appeals against decisions of licensing authorities]:

Lord Avebury moved Amendment No. 236:

    Page 98, leave out line 12 and insert—

"(3) The magistrates' court may make an order as to costs, having regard to its statement adopted under subsection (4) below.
(4) The magistrates' court shall—
(a) beginning on the day appointed by the Secretary of State referred to in section 5(2)(a), adopt a statement as to its policy for awarding costs in relation to cases heard on appeal under this Act, after consulting with—
(i) premises licence holders,
(ii) personal licence holders,
(iii) residents,
(iv) business, and
(v) such others that it deems fit;
(b) review its statement adopted by virtue of paragraph (a) above every three years, after consulting with—
(i) premises licence holders,
(ii) personal licence holders,
(iii) residents,
(iv) business, and
(v) such others as it deems fit."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, at the request of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, who is unavoidably absent hosting an event at the University of London, I rise to move Amendment No. 236 standing in his name. The amendment is concerned with the award of costs by magistrates' courts in cases where there is an appeal against the decision of the licensing authority.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, courts may award costs in certain circumstances. The convention is based on the principles of legality and proportionality, which require that where a public authority has a wide discretion in law—in this case the discretion of the magistrates to award costs—there must be either in the legislation or in supplementary regulations,

    "a sufficient indication of the circumstances in which that discretion will be exercised".

That is taken from the case of Silver v UK (1983).

A public statement setting out the approach that will be adopted in the exercise of otherwise over-broad discretions may suffice in some cases. Section 2(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires courts and tribunals in making determinations on issues which have arisen in connection with the convention to take into account among other things any judgment, decision, declaration or advisory opinion of the European Court of Human Rights. That includes the decision that is made in regard to costs. The European Court of Human Rights does not award costs against any person who claims that his rights have been violated, whether or not that claim has been upheld.

4 Mar 2003 : Column 761

Furthermore, the convention requires that the burdens placed on any of the parties in civil cases should not be so onerous as to create an imbalance between the parties. The Bill as presently drafted is likely to deter individuals from appealing against decisions of the licensing authority even where there are very good grounds for doing so—for example, where there is evidence of bias or where there have been serious mistakes of fact or law—because of uncertainty over the costs that a litigant may have awarded against him.

There is even greater uncertainty because paragraph 9(3) of Schedule 5 to the Bill requires the licensing authority and the licensee to join in as respondents, which creates the possibility that two lots of costs may be awarded if magistrates choose to exercise their discretion in that regard. The experience of litigants is that residents will not take on risks of costs if there is uncertainty as to the quantum.

Given all of that, while magistrates should, indeed, have the power to award costs, the interests of ensuring that there is access to the court requires it to be indicated on what basis they will exercise that discretion. We believe that the best way would be through a statement which would have to be produced after consultation with the parties likely to be affected. Magistrates' courts already have court user forums where such issues can be raised. I beg to move.

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