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Lord Filkin: My Lords, I will seize the moment. I will not respond at great length because we have previously engaged in these issues. I should make a slight correction. I am advised that when I opened the debate on the amendment, I referred to the Lord Chancellor having a veto when of course I meant the Lord Chief Justice. I am also in favour of the Lord Chancellor having lots of vetoes—but perhaps that is another matter.

The issue turns on the question: is there risk and why does it matter? I can but emphasise the points I made previously. I cannot conceive how there is a risk that a judge could be wrongly dismissed—and that would matter massively if it were so—when the procedure for investigating an apparent complaint or an issue of incapacity is so much under the control of the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. And so it should be. It is right that the Lord Chief Justice has the ability to chair the committee and appoint both its judicial members. It is also right in those very rare circumstances that it would not be he because they are of the High Court or above, and that they are determined by the Lord Chancellor or, subsequently, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, after consultation with the most senior judicial figures in the United Kingdom.

I should also have marked the fact that the Lord Chief Justice would also determine the rules and procedures of the tribunal. Therefore it is a process properly under the authority, shadow, influence and direction of the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. But that is distinct from saying that the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, acting alone, should have the ability either to sack or to block the dismissal of a judge. Even though I have put on record my view about the quality and integrity of the Lord Chief Justices I have met in Northern Ireland, it does not require much imagination to understand why that issue might cause anxiety in some quarters.

29 Apr 2004 : Column 897

The Lord Chief Justice would not be able to block a recommendation from a tribunal, but would be able to ensure that its recommendation was likely to be as fair and as proper as it is conceivable to imagine. And it matters because we have to stand by our agreements if we are to expect others to do so. There is therefore no harm and this measure, as affirmed by the Commons, is right and proper for this House to support.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his response and I shall be even briefer. I want to react only to one matter that he raised concerning the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland being able to block a disciplinary tribunal decision.

I wonder whether the noble Lord has chosen the right description for such potential action by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. If, as I hope he will, the noble Lord accepts that Lord Chief Justices of Northern Ireland have been appointments not only of impeccable quality but also of unimpeachable independence, the only reason why a Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland would wish to veto the decision of a disciplinary committee would be on jurisprudential grounds. In my submission, the word "block", in those circumstances, is wholly inappropriate.

The Minister and I have had several exchanges on this matter during the past month. I have great respect for him. He knows that on this occasion I disagree and therefore I would like to test the opinion of the House.

11.56 a.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1A) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 74; Not-Contents, 134.

Division No. 1


Ackner, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Chester, Bp.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glentoran, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Home, E.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Inge, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mancroft, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rogan, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Swinfen, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Warnock, B.
Windlesham, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President of the Council)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Armstrong of Ilminster, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goodhart, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Joffe, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Methuen, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Northover, B.
Ouseley, L.
Patel, L.
Pendry, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Razzall, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stern, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Sutherland of Houndwood, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Triesman, L. [Teller]
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

29 Apr 2004 : Column 899

On Question, Motion agreed to.

12.6 p.m.


2Clause 11, page 8, line 20, leave out "and" and insert—
"( ) after paragraph (3) insert—
"(3A) If, on an application made by a constable, a justice of the peace is satisfied that—
(a) there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person who is liable to arrest under paragraph (3) is to be found on the premises specified in the application; and
(b) any of the conditions specified in paragraph (3B) is satisfied,
he may issue a warrant authorising a constable to enter those premises (if need be by force) and search them for the purpose of arresting that person.
(3B) The conditions mentioned in paragraph (3A) are—
(a) that it is not practicable to communicate with any person entitled to grant entry to the premises;
(b) that entry to the premises will not be granted unless a warrant is produced;
(c) that the purpose of a search of the premises may be frustrated or seriously prejudiced unless a constable arriving at the premises can secure immediate entry to them."; and"

Lord Filkin: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2. Because of some helpful, aggressive grouping by Opposition Front Benches, that amendment is grouped with Commons Amendments Nos. 8, 7, 3, 4, 5, 11, 9, 10 and 6. In the hope that it will help to shorten the debate, I shall try to explain in my opening remarks what those amendments are about.

Amendments Nos. 2 and 8 are intended to provide the Police Service of Northern Ireland with powers of entry, which can be exercised to effect an arrest under the powers of arrest without warrant under Article 6(3) of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. The power in Amendment No. 2 applies in non-scheduled cases and the power in Amendment No. 8 applies in scheduled cases. The powers of entry can be exercised only if the police have been granted a warrant by a justice of the peace.

Amendment No. 2 provides that if a person is liable to be arrested under Article 6(3), a justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorising a constable to enter the specified premises for the purpose of effecting the arrest.

Amendment No. 8 provides that if a person is liable to be arrested under Article 2(4), a JP may issue a warrant authorising a constable to enter specified premises, again, for the purposes of effecting the arrest.

29 Apr 2004 : Column 900

The aim of the amendments is to enhance the powers of arrest available to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in respect of a person who breaches, or is likely to breach, a condition of his bail. I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, for encouraging us to look at these issues, which we have done, subsequent to our earlier discussions with the Police Service of Northern Ireland. We believe that they appropriately strengthen the powers of the PSNI.

However, as part of that, we had to ensure that the issue of Article 8 of the ECHR, with which the exercise of such a power would have engaged, was appropriately addressed and that Article 8(2) was complied with and the power exercised proportionately. That is why a justice of the peace must make that judgment and issue a warrant.

All the safeguards under Articles 17 and 18 of the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 will apply to the application for, and execution of, the warrant.

Amendment No. 7 makes the offences under paragraphs 1(1) and (2) of Schedule 2 to the Bill scheduled offences. Schedule 2 to the Bill creates two new offences of absconding while on bail in a scheduled case. These offences replace the offence of absconding while on bail under Section 67 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

In explanation of Amendments Nos. 3 to 5 and 11, Clause 12 currently provides that prisoners who are subject to compulsory transfers may be transferred to England and Wales. The amendments provide that prisoners may be transferred to either Scotland or England and Wales.

Before Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 were accepted in another place, Schedule 3 allowed judges, magistrates, coroners, social security commissioners, the High Court Master (Taxing) and the High Court Master (Enforcement of Judgments) to give directions to court security officers by virtue of the fact that they were defined as "persons in authority". However, other Masters of the High Court—for example, those who deal with bankruptcy—are not designated as "persons in authority", and therefore those Masters would not have been able to give directions to court security officers. The amendments address that issue.

I trust that the amendments do not cause any disquiet to noble Lords, which is why I suspect they have been agreed for grouping in this manner.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2.—(Lord Filkin.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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