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The Earl of Onslow: My Lords, if the Minister is saying that these provisions will not affect the conviction rate, that means that we are getting matters roughly right. If we are getting matters roughly right, why alter the situation?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, your Lordships will remember that the Serious Fraud Office has made it plain that there are cases that it chooses not to bring before the courts because of their complexity, length and difficulty. Already a sifting process is

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taking place. We wish to see all those cases that should properly be brought to court, brought to court. In speaking to the amendment earlier I said that the Government were concerned about cases in which there were secondary participants against whom proceedings were not taken in order to enable the case to go forward. That is not justice and we should be able to deal with the principal and the subsidiary aiders and abettors.

Lord Carlile of Berriew: My Lords, has the Serious Fraud Office told the noble Baroness how many cases it has not brought to court because of complexity? She says that there have been such cases so I ask how many.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I do not have the numbers. I see the noble Lord shaking his head. I do not know whether he suggests that that is not a problem or a difficulty or whether he suggests that this matter is being fabricated.

Lord Carlile of Berriew: My Lords, the noble Baroness made an assertion that we are entitled to assume was evidentially based. I merely ask her to give the House that evidence.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I am certainly willing to write to the noble Lord setting out those matters. These are Commons amendments.

Lord Carlile of Berriew: My Lords, the noble Baroness says that she is willing to write to me, which is extremely kind of her. Is she willing to write me with that information before the Bill returns to the House later today?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, the noble Lord knows the answer to that question: I shall use my best endeavours. I hope the House accepts that on each occasion I have given such an undertaking, that is precisely what I have done. On no occasion when a question has been asked of me have I not sought to comply with it in its entirety. I hope that the House will accept that I have treated all Members with the utmost courtesy and care.

Lord Carlile of Berriew: My Lords, I am not suggesting for one moment that the noble Baroness has not treated the House with courtesy, but she made an assertion which is evidential. I do not ask her to write to me; I simply ask her to give the House the evidence.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, perhaps I may remind the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, that it is the speaker's choice to give way. My noble friend has given way on, I think, five occasions. The noble Lord has had an answer to his question. I sense that the mood of the House is that the matter should cease at that point.

Lord Davies of Coity: My Lords, I have absolutely no doubt whatever that my noble friend's statement

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can be substantiated. What is more important to this House on the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, is whether the noble Lord's view would change if the answer is confirmed.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, the Government's amendments respond to concerns about the possibility that Clause 42, as currently drafted, risks widening the potential application of the clause to cases which are not akin to fraud. That matter has been raised on a number of occasions. The Government have therefore thought very carefully about how to craft Amendment No. 42. They accept that the danger of cases slipping through which are not akin to fraud is in fact negligible.

The reference to,

    "of a financial or commercial nature or which relate to property",

is one element only of a deliberately high and cumulative test. None the less, we have listened and we have amended Clause 42 to restrict its application fairly and squarely to serious fraud trials, which is the main mischief to which the clause was directed.

Let me emphasise that in the light of the comments made in another place, these amendments in no way serve to fetter the discretion of a judge. That is certainly not the intention, nor, I respectfully suggest, is it the effect. The judge will continue to need to satisfy himself that the condition in subsection (4) is met regarding the length and/or complexity of the trial. He will also need to have regard to any step which could be taken to reduce the length and/or complexity of the trial. Your Lordships will find that set out in subsection (6).

I hope that in the light of these amendments the House will be able to reconsider its decision.

Lord Elton: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, will she undertake to send a copy of the moving and restrained prologue to her speech—in which she summarised how your Lordships deal with matters of this kind and reflected on any failure to do so—to the Home Secretary before he next talks about the advantages of the guillotine system?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I can only reassure the noble Lord that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary is assiduous in his reading and absorption of the matters that go on in your Lordships' House. I am sure that he will have the advantage of looking at Hansard. I make it plain that we shall deal first with the amendments regarding Clause 41. In the next group I shall move the amendment on issues relating to fraud.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: My Lords, I start by thanking the Minister for the courtesy with which she has always listened to debate in the House. She has always given way. I intervened only when I thought she had finished. The House pays her every possible respect for the graciousness with which she approaches these debates; it does not mean that we always agree with her.

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I do not think that the House would want me to answer all the points made. However, I should like to deal with the point on Clause 41. There was an extensive debate in the other place on that clause. I say to the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, and to my noble friend Lord Renton that I thought that the point was adequately dealt with in that debate. Perhaps I may quote the words of the Labour Member of Parliament, Vera Baird. She went into all the reasons why the opt-out should not be allowed. She then remarked that if her right honourable friend the Home Secretary was concerned about safeguarding the principle of jury trial,

    "he cannot allow it to become optional. Once it becomes optional, the reasons why the option is exercised will bring the principle into disrepute. That is the slippery slope on which we are starting today with clause 41".—[Official Report, Commons, 18/11/03; col. 674.]

I hope he will accept that I thought the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, made a very persuasive series of comments on that issue.

I should like to spend time dealing with other points, but I think that we are willing to proceed to a decision. All I would say in conclusion is that I believe Mr Blunkett has under-estimated the reasons why we feel so strongly that these clauses should not form part of the Bill. They should in fact have been in another Bill—a mode of trial Bill. That has always been our case. We then could have had the proper research into the jury system that we should have before we start restricting the principle.

I close by quoting Lord Devlin, who said that trial by jury is,

    "the lamp that shows freedom lives".

In this House that means a great deal. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

4.16 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 32B) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 196; Not-Contents, 125.

Division No. 1


Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brigstocke, B.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chalfont, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cockfield, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Craig of Radley, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L. [Teller]
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geraint, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goschen, V.
Greaves, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Home, E.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jacobs, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkham, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Laird, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lindsay, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lloyd of Berwick, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Moser, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Naseby, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prior, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rennard, L.
Richardson of Calow, B.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell, E.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stern, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.


Acton, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Colville of Culross, V.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Falkender, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Jordan, L.
Kilclooney, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Marsh, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mitchell, L.
Monson, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Nickson, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renton, L.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strange, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

19 Nov 2003 : Column 1958

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

19 Nov 2003 : Column 1959

4.28 p.m.


33Leave out Clause 42

The Commons disagree to this amendment but propose the following amendments to the words so restored to the Bill—

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