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Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord has spent much time responding to Amendment No. 9, which has not been moved and not been spoken to. I do not think that it is intended to be moved.

So far as concerns the noble and learned Lord's opposition to Amendment No. 7, he has not dealt with the basic point that subsections (5) and (6) are a great deal weaker than subsection (1), which sets out the Lord Chancellor's fundamental duty.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I had assumed that the noble Viscount moved his amendment because he wanted to replace subsections (4) and (6) with his positive duties. I apologise if I have got that wrong. I dealt briefly with his main point.
 
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Clause 1(1) is not in any way diluted by subsections (4) to (6). Subsections (4) to (6) are in the Bill because they were agreed in the concordat. The position cannot be made worse once Clause 1(1) is in place. I ask the noble Viscount to respect the concordat and leave the position alone.

Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, with respect, the noble and learned Lord must be entirely wrong. If one has a general principle and then some detailed provisions, in matters which are covered by the detailed provisions, they will prevail over the general statement. We just cannot have a provision in the Bill which states that Ministers must not influence judicial decisions through any special access. That would make it plain that it is perfectly all right for them to influence judicial decisions by anything other than special access, which is the most appalling constitutional impropriety.

If Ministers are merely obliged to uphold the continued independence of the judiciary, they cannot seek to influence judicial decisions in any way other than by making representations in court. If they are under an absolute duty to uphold the continued independence of the judiciary, there is no need for a provision which states that they must have regard to the need to defend that. Subsections (5) and (6) quite plainly water down subsection (1) and are undesirable. I will test the opinion of the House.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: My Lords, before the noble Viscount sits down, could he please explain something, because I am certainly muddled now? Amendments Nos. 7 and 9 were grouped. Is the noble Viscount saying that without Amendment No. 9 being agreed to, it is satisfactory to remove subsections (4) to (6)?

Viscount Bledisloe: I am, my Lords. Indeed, we were told by the Deputy Speaker that if Amendment No. 7 were passed, Amendment No. 9 could not be moved by reason of pre-emption. Let us stick to one amendment.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords—

Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, let me just respond to one question first. It is perfectly satisfactory to stick to Clause 1(1) and not to have detailed, weaker provisions.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, it is entirely a matter for the noble Viscount. As I made clear in my remarks, subsections (4) to (6) neither water down nor are intended to water down Clause 1(1). They are in the Bill to help the judiciary. To knock them out now would have precisely the reverse effect of that which the noble Viscount intends.

Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, we must agree to differ and see which view the House prefers.
 
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6.43 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 7) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 128; Not-Contents, 178.


Division No. 3


CONTENTS

Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Biffen, L.
Bledisloe, V. [Teller]
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chorley, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donaldson of Lymington, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goschen, V.
Greenway, L.
Hanham, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hogg, B.
Home, E.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jopling, L.
Kilclooney, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Laidlaw, L.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lloyd of Berwick, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Macfarlane of Bearsden, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Mancroft, L.
Mar, C.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Nickson, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbourne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rogan, L.
Saatchi, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Slynn of Hadley, L.
Steinberg, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Tugendhat, L.
Ullswater, V.
Wakeham, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Ampthill, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Borrie, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chandos, V.
Chester, Bp.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Drayson, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dubs, L.
Dykes, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fearn, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Garden, L.
Giddens, L.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Griffiths of Burry Port, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayman, B.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leitch, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McDonagh, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prosser, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Richard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Robertson of Port Ellen, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Snape, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Triesman, L. [Teller]
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warner, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.


Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.


 
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Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 8:

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, the amendment will clarify the respective positions of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice. It was referred to in the speech by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf. Traditionally, the Lord Chancellor has been referred to as the head of the judiciary. That has always been a non-statutory title, flowing from the Lord Chancellor's position as the most senior judge in the United Kingdom.

As all sides now appear to have accepted, it is inappropriate for the Lord Chancellor to hold judicial office or to be the head of the judiciary. The Bill already provides that the Lord Chief Justice is to assume the new additional title of President of the Courts of England and Wales. The amendment will provide further in the Bill that the Lord Chief Justice should also be acknowledged explicitly as the head of the judiciary of England and Wales. That will put beyond all conceivable doubt the rightful position of the Lord Chief Justice as the leader of the judges in the jurisdiction. It will also put beyond doubt the fact that the Lord Chancellorship is no longer to be a judicial office.

It is also my intention to table another amendment to provide in the Bill that the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is the head of the judiciary in that jurisdiction. As justice is a devolved matter in Scotland, we have left the position in that jurisdiction to be dealt with by the Scottish Parliament. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, has already said, the amendment is supported by him on behalf of the Judges' Council and it is a useful clarification. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 not moved.]
 
7 Dec 2004 : Column 796
 

Clause 3 [President of the Courts of England and Wales]:


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