It remains the case that the court will ultimately decide whether to award those costs against the intervener. If the court considers that there are exceptional circumstances that make it inappropriate to award costs against the intervener, it can decide not to make the order. As with Amendment 74, matters for the court to consider when determining whether there are exceptional circumstances will be set out in rules of court. We should not seek to second-guess the content of those rules, which as usual will fall to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee. We can, however, be confident that the rules will reflect the overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules, which is, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, will know only too well, to enable the court to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost.

These safeguards reflect the principle that an intervention should not usually cause additional costs to the claimant or to the usually taxpayer-funded defendant. They will operate to ensure that interveners are not asked inappropriately to pay the costs of a party.

I hope that no one can accuse the Government of not having considered the views that have been expressed in relation to this clause; we are continuing to do that, as I indicated. I also indicated that what has been said today will influence our thinking.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, referred to the position of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has its own rules and we do not purport to prescribe how the Supreme Court should reflect the questions of intervention—I am sure that many of them are extremely valuable.

We accept that interveners can bring value. The noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, referred to the case of Burke, although she will remember that that decision was reversed in the Court of Appeal when it decided that it was not to be used as an advice centre. I none the less accept the general thrust of her point.

The Government want to ensure that third-party interventions are made in the right cases, for the right reasons and after careful consideration beforehand. This means that interveners should have a fair financial stake in the case.

Bearing in mind our intention to continue to look at the clause—and I hope that the House will accept the sincerity of what I am saying; doubts were expressed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, although he accepted that some of the Government’s anxiety was reasonable—I hope that I have been able to address noble Lords’ concerns. In those circumstances—

2 pm

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws: Can the Minister address the following concern? A distinction has been made between those who voluntarily intervene, in that they approach the court and indicate that they might be able to contribute something of special value, and

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those invited to participate. I chair the council of Justice, which, as this House knows, is an absolutely cross-party and no-party organisation—it is an independent organisation of lawyers, one of the organisations regularly described as acting as an intervener. It does so because of its commitment to the rule of law and the recognition that it is a lawyers’ organisation that has things to say about law which may be missed in the kind of judicial review where a particular issue is being raised that may have much more generalised concerns.

I am concerned that every so often Justice will identify an issue in an action that is not immediately obvious and will therefore draw the court’s attention to that fact; consent is then given to its intervening. I am, therefore, very worried about this distinction between the voluntary and the invited-in. Often it is the volunteer organisation saying, “We think there is an issue here that the court should hear”, which is of great value. I shall give an example of that. Noble Lords heard from organisations such as Justice and Liberty during the torture case. I know that it went all the way through but there are cases where there are legal issues, and when my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay—I refer to him as a friend because he is a dear friend—raises the issue of why we have seen some growth. It is because our world is more complicated and because we are dealing with issues such as international terrorism and more complicated issues in medicine that interventions from specialist organisations can be useful. Often, however, the courts do not know how they could be assisted until the voluntary suggestion is made that something of value is on offer.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett: My Lords, I asked a number of practical questions that had been put by Justice. I want to save the Minister from jumping up and down and I do not want to come between your Lordships and lunch, so perhaps he could write to all those who have taken part in the debate with the answers.

Lord Woolf: Clause 67 has created a particular type of party, namely a “relevant party”. The relevant party is defined in subsection (8). I have no problem with that definition. However, in his closing remarks the Minister said that if, of course, a person is invited to intervene, as Justice could be invited to intervene, in effect this would not apply. The words are, of course, very specific, because of the presence of the word “must”. I draw attention to the fact that the court could invite people to intervene who are not a relevant party. Would he bear that in mind?

Lord Faulks: I shall deal with those interventions in reverse order, I am very grateful for what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, said. I will bear that in mind and, rather than answer from the Dispatch Box, I will consider it carefully. Similarly, I will answer the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, in writing with details.

As to the remarks of the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, I obviously would not comment on the appropriateness of particular interventions in particular cases. However, I am not sure that I would entirely

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agree with, or that I apprehend, her thrust, which was that litigation belongs to the parties, and there are disputes—whether civil disputes or judicial review, which involves public law—where interventions may be helpful in deciding between the parties. Where I may differ from her is the approach whereby an organisation of which all of us, I suspect, would approve should nevertheless use judicial review as part of a process. There are other processes available, whether it is lobbying Government or informal processes of campaigning, lobbying or taking part in inquiries: that may be a way to do it. Nevertheless, even though these bodies can have valuable contributions in certain cases, there should be some hesitation before simply saying that this is an issue where we might be able to help.

I conclude by saying that I will take into account all the observations that have been made and inviting the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Pannick: I thank noble Lords who have contributed to this exceptionally informed debate, including the Minister. I am pleased that further thought is to be given to this clause. I hope that over the summer not just the Minister but also the Secretary of State will think again about Clause 67, because the Government’s defence of this clause is wholly unconvincing—apart possibly from the Minister’s critical comments about the attitude of the Liberal Democrats to Clause 4. I leave that aside: it is something I do not want to intrude into.

Subject to that, the Government have presented no proper defence of this clause, and I ask the Minister to ask himself and the Secretary of State two questions in particular: what is really the mischief that is being addressed here that is not already addressed by the ample powers that courts have, and what will be the inevitable consequences of this clause? The inevitable adverse consequence is that the public interest group that is considering intervening will say to itself, “We simply cannot bear the risk, and therefore we will not intervene”, and the court will be denied the information—the assistance—that courts appreciate and value. For the moment, however, I will withdraw this amendment.

Amendment 74 withdrawn.

Amendments 74A to 74L not moved.

Clause 67 agreed.

2.07 pm

Sitting suspended.

2.37 pm

Clause 68: Capping of costs

Amendment 75

Moved by Lord Pannick

75: Clause 68, page 68, line 16, leave out subsection (3)

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Lord Pannick: My Lords, this group of amendments is concerned with Clause 68, on costs capping orders—or protective costs orders, as they have previously been called. In a case that raises issues of public importance, the court has a power, before the case is heard, to set a maximum figure for costs that a claimant will be required to pay, should the claim not succeed. The object of such an order is to ensure that a claimant who raises an issue of public importance is not deterred from bringing the claim because of the risk of having to pay unquantified costs, should that claim fail.

At the moment, costs capping orders are a matter for the discretion of the court. They are rarely made; I am told that there have been fewer than 20 such orders in the past three years. Almost all of those are concerned with environmental claims, which Clause 70 recognises raise special considerations because of the international Aarhus convention. I am aware of no evidence that there have been substantial, or indeed any, difficulties in this area.

Amendment 75 would leave out Clause 68(3), which is particularly objectionable because it provides that a costs capping order may be made only if leave to apply for judicial review has already been granted. That would defeat much of the object of a costs capping order. If applicants cannot seek and obtain a costs capping order until leave to move for judicial review is granted, they are, inevitably, going to be deterred from bringing the judicial review proceedings at all because of the risk of having to pay an unquantified amount of costs at the permission hearing.

Amendment 76 would omit Clause 68(6)(c), which is also objectionable because it would require the court to be satisfied, before making a costs capping order, that, in the absence of the order, the applicant for judicial review would not merely withdraw the application or cease to participate in the proceedings, but also that it would be reasonable for them to do so. I am puzzled by that provision. I simply do not understand how a judge can be expected to assess the reasonableness of a decision by a claimant not to take a financial risk by bringing proceedings without a costs capping order. Whether you bring a claim without financial protection will depend on the legal advice you receive as to its prospects of success—a matter covered by legal professional privilege and so unknown to the judge—and the degree to which you are willing to take the financial risk of having to pay the costs, which is a very subjective matter. How will a judge be expected to apply Clause 68(3)?

Amendments 77 and 81 address a particular vice of the costs capping provisions. Clauses 68(8) to (11) and Clauses 69(3) to (5) would confer powers on the Secretary of State to define, by subordinate legislation, what factors the court should take into account when it decides whether proceedings are of public importance. These are not matters in which a Minister should be involved by making subordinate legislation, far less a Minister who is likely to be one of the potential defendants in the very cases which he would be seeking to regulate by making that subordinate legislation. If the Government wish to regulate this area, they should come forward with primary legislation which can be properly debated and scrutinised.

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I have seen no evidence to suggest that the current exercise of the costs capping powers has caused any problems, other, of course, than the general problem that government departments would much prefer not to be the subject of judicial review applications. For these reasons, I oppose Clause 68 standing part of the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern: My Lords, I wonder whether I might invite the noble Lord to say what the present rules are and what are the powers under which this costs capping happens.

Lord Pannick:The present powers are that the court has a general discretion to decide at the beginning of the case on the application of a claimant for judicial review whether, and if so in what terms, it is appropriate to limit the exposure of the claimant to pay the defendant’s costs, should the claim fail. The court also has a power, which it sometimes exercises, to provide the other way, so that if the claimant were to succeed in the claim, the exposure of the defendant to pay the claimant’s costs should also be limited. This is a discretionary power, it is a broad power and it is exercised, as the noble and learned Lord would expect, according to the particular circumstances of each case.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern: Is the noble Lord able to say when that power was introduced? I am trying to work from my memory, and I do not remember. Of course, I am not saying that my memory is perfect. I am just wondering when it came in.

Lord Pannick: My understanding—I will be corrected by others if I am wrong—is that the court created such a power as an inherent aspect of its supervisory power over judicial review and other proceedings. I do not think that a specific rule was made, but I will be corrected if I am wrong on that.

2.45 pm

Lord Faulks: Since we are in Committee, perhaps I can try to assist the Committee.

The power derives from restatements of principles which, as the noble Lord said, are inherent in the court’s processes. In the Court of Appeal case Regina (on the application of Corner House Research) v the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 2005—EWCA Civ 192—the Court of Appeal considered that Corner House, which was an anti-corruption NGO, should, if unsuccessful in the judicial review, exceptionally be protected from being liable for the defendant’s costs because,

“the issues of public importance that arose in the case would have been stifled at the outset, and the courts would have been powerless to grant this small company the relief that it sought”.

It also set out the general principles for when a protected costs order should be granted: first, the issues are of general public importance; secondly, the public interest requires that those issues should be resolved; thirdly, the claimant has no private interest in the outcome of the case; fourthly, the financial means of the claimant

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mean that the protected costs order is fair and just; and, finally, if the order is not made, the claimant will probably discontinue the proceedings.

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames: On Clause 68, there is only one amendment in my name, Amendment 75F, which removes subsections (6) to (11). The reason for that is we firmly believe that the making of costs capping orders should be left to the discretion of the court in appropriate circumstances. Of course, those depend on the financial circumstances of the parties, which are mentioned in subsection (5), so they should stay in Clause 68. However, the factors that are set out in subsections (6), (7) and (8) relate to public interest proceedings and might legitimately influence the decision of the court in an appropriate case.

By Amendment 80A in relation to Clause 69—I am proceeding on the basis of a suggestion that Clauses 68 and 69 should be debated together—which is in my name and that of my noble friends Lord Lester of Herne Hill and Lord Carlile of Berriew, further factors are listed as factors that the court should take into account.

In relation to the explanation that the Minister has just given of the origin of the costs capping jurisdiction, I fully accept that the Corner House principles limit the jurisdiction to public interest proceedings. I am not sure that that limitation is legitimate or necessary, although it is plainly relevant. The reason I suggest that it is not necessary to limit it in that way is that there may be unusual cases where an individual is so justifiably aggrieved by an unlawful decision of a public body in a case which does not have universal or public importance that a costs capping order or a protected costs order might be appropriate, even though there is no wider public interest.

I fully support Amendments 75 and 75A in respect of Clause 68, which would remove the bar on making a costs capping order until after the permission stage. For my part, I can see no reason for such a bar, unless it were to choke off applications for leave to apply for judicial review for fear of an uncapped costs order. That, I suggest, is an unacceptable reason for stifling proceedings at that stage.

Our Amendments 77A, 80A and 80C to Clause 69 would restore the position that costs capping orders in judicial review proceedings are discretionary. Amendment 77A would require the court, when considering making such an order and then in considering the terms of any such order, to have regard to all the circumstances of the case. There would then follow a list of circumstances to which the court should have regard. This is a common enough formulation: in the provision of a non-exhaustive list, Parliament gives an indication to the courts as to the factors that should be considered. However, in its acknowledgement of the fallibility of lawmakers, and of the range of possibly unforeseeable circumstances, as mentioned by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, the requirement that the court should have regard to all the circumstances of the case is, I suggest, a just and sensible one, which would allow judges to make the right decision in the particular cases that come before them.

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As I have said, Amendment 80A would add to the list of factors that the courts should take into account all the factors drawn from the present proposals in Clause 68. These factors would not—and, I suggest, should not—be ranked in any particular order of importance. The court would be entitled to have regard to them as it thought appropriate. As I have also said, this does not require public interest considerations to be a precondition for a costs capping order.

Amendment 80C would remove the requirement that a costs capping order in favour of an applicant would necessarily import a requirement that the court make a costs capping order in favour of the defendant at the same time. It would make the imposition of such an order discretionary in any given case. This was the present position, as outlined by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, in answer to the question posed by my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern. It does not seem to me that there is anything sensible or justifiable in an automatic rule that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. It may sometimes be appropriate to make a costs capping order in relation to a defendant’s costs—more rarely, I suggest, because of the nature of the parties, than it is to make such an order in respect of an applicant’s costs. But again, I see no reason for interfering with the discretion of a court to make whatever orders appear to it to be just.

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton: My Lords, I also wish to speak—[Interruption.]. Sorry, I did not intend to knock over the microphone. Let me begin again.

My Lords, I support all the amendments in this group, in particular Amendments 75 to 77 and Amendment 81, in the name of my noble friend Lord Pannick, and I oppose the Question that Clause 68 stand part of the Bill.

The proposals are yet another barrier to access to justice. While we are talking about barriers to access to justice and people’s access to advocacy, I hope that the Minister will humour me—unfortunately, I have not yet figured out a way to intervene when he is speaking, apart from waving my arms about—and allow me to come back to him on the subject of the importance of cases and of intervening in such cases. Cases are often not all about winning or losing; they are about what we all gain from the proceedings. Yes, Leslie Burke lost on appeal, but his was the first case that prompted the GMC to change the guidelines on issues of life and death, and to begin to change the nature of the involvement of patients in their treatment. So we gained from that case, even though it was lost on appeal. That shows us how important access to justice is—not necessarily just for the particular case, but for what it offers us all in society.

The Government’s proposals on costs capping are deeply worrying in two respects. As I understand it, under Clause 68 the court can make an order only if the claimant already has permission to ask for judicial review. This will have a dramatic effect on access to justice. At present, an order can be made before the claimant asks for permission, so the claimant knows from the outset how much they will be liable for. This is vital, because most of the work is done in the early stages before the permission hearing. The Government

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themselves have said their costs can amount to £30,000. Without the protection of an order, most charities will simply not be able to seek permission. The risk is too great.

The clause defines “public interest proceedings” and sets out the matters the court must consider in deciding that question. But the Lord Chancellor can change those matters by regulations. That cannot be right. In effect, the Lord Chancellor is surely then able to dictate to the court what is in the public interest—when it is the Government who are most likely to be the target of such proceedings.

These proposals have to be seen in the context of the whole package of increasingly worrying legal reforms. As legal aid is withdrawn in cases of significant public interest, costs capping becomes even more important. In a recent case that I know of, a disabled and destitute man from Nigeria, who had been living on the streets, was denied legal aid and was able to get his case brought before the courts only because he got a protective costs order. If costs capping is severely restricted, what chance will individuals have of holding public bodies to account? I am mystified. This is yet another barrier in the way of ordinary people getting access to justice at every level—and it is the marginalised who will be most affected.

Both the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Constitution Committee of this House have expressed concerns about these proposals. Their effect will be to drive away all but the wealthiest of claimants. The one route available for righting wrongs will be eroded for those who most need it. I do not feel that we can allow this to happen.

3 pm

Baroness Lister of Burtersett: I oppose Clause 68 standing part of the Bill. The Joint Committee on Human Rights welcomed many aspects of the Government’s original proposals on cost capping, as have others. However, as the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Surbiton, pointed out, we are very concerned about Clause 68. We said that it has the potential to limit very severely the practical effects of PCOs in protecting access to justice. We quoted in our report the supplementary written evidence given to us by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, which stated:

“A PCO that cannot be obtained until it is too late to prevent the chilling effect of uncertain and unlimited costs exposure is a pointless PCO: it does not achieve the aim of enabling access to justice for those who cannot expose themselves to substantial costs risk”.

In essence, that is very much the argument put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. Therefore, in the JCHR’s view, Clause 68 is too great a restriction and will undermine effective access to justice.

The committee also shares the concerns of others that both Clauses 68 and 69 give the Lord Chancellor unreasonable Henry VIII powers. We noted that the Government have not explained the necessity for giving the Lord Chancellor “such an extensive power”, and one which has serious implications for the separation of powers between the Executive and the judiciary. Therefore, we recommended that those powers be removed from the Bill.

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It is worth noting the JCHR’s wider observation that the judicial review proposals as a whole,

“expose the conflict inherent in the combined roles of the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice”.

We warned that the kind of politically partisan arguments put forward by the Lord Chancellor in support of these proposals—for example, in the Daily Mail of 6 September 2013, which I think was referred to in earlier debates—

“do not qualify as a legitimate aim recognised by human rights law as capable of justifying restrictions on access to justice, nor are they easy to reconcile with the Lord Chancellor’s statutory duties in relation to the rule of law”.

I am well aware that it was my own Government—a Labour Government—who combined these two roles, but such a politically partisan approach has led the JCHR to suggest that the time is approaching for there to be a thoroughgoing review of the effect of combining in one person the roles of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. Personally, I think that Part 4 of the Bill means that that time has now come.

Baroness Deech (CB): My Lords, I intervene very briefly, again as one who has been judicially reviewed—indeed, as one who is constantly being judicially reviewed. There is something of a flavour here that judicial review is always a case of David versus Goliath. However, it has to be remembered that sometimes it is a case of David versus David. Although the first David may passionately believe that what is being done in their name is in the public interest, the person on the other side may equally strongly and decently believe that what they are standing up for is also in the public interest. They are not necessarily a well funded public organisation. That is why I have some sympathy with the retention of Clause 69(2), and with giving some support to the other party who also believes that their costs should be capped because they are defending something that they believe is in the public interest. Other than that, I think that the general tenor of the argument that judicial discretion should prevail is the right one. I support the general thrust of the amendments, subject only to our remembering that the person who is not the claimant—the respondent—may have an equally innocent and good case and believe that they are standing up for the public interest.

Lord Davies of Stamford: My Lords, in my view there is a lot of mischief in this clause and the best solution would certainly be to leave it out of the Bill altogether. I want to touch on three particular pieces of mischief which lie within it.

Subsection (3) has already been dealt with by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, in proposing his amendment to remove that subsection from the Bill. No one doubts the great importance and value of having a costs-limiting facility available in judicial review. The Government are not arguing that there should be no such scope for costs-limiting orders, and no one else has argued that there should not be such scope. I think no one would deny that if there were no possibility of getting costs-limiting orders, some very meritorious applications that were very much in the public interest would not

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be made. That would be a great loss to our legal system. As the Government have not argued against the principle of costs capping, I do not think that I need say more than that.

Equally, I do not think that anyone can deny that if the Bill is introduced in this form and subsection (3) proceeds on to the statute book, an awful lot of the value of costs capping will be negated because applicants will be exposed to very significant financial liabilities—almost certainly incalculable financial liabilities—before they get to the point when a costs-capping order can be considered by the court. Therefore the effect of the costs-capping order would itself have been negated and a large number of potentially meritorious applications will not be able to proceed at all and will not be started. That would be a great loss to the system. If the Government said that that was their intention, they would at least be straightforward about it. In actual fact, however, I think they are again in a state of contradiction, saying on the one hand, “Yes, we do want to have a costs-capping provision”, but, on the other, “We want to introduce a measure that will in practice negate very largely the benefit of that provision”.

My second problem with this clause concerns subsection (6), which states:

“The court may make a costs capping order only if it is satisfied that … (b) in the absence of the order, the applicant for judicial review would withdraw the application for judicial review or cease to participate in the proceedings”.

What exactly does that mean? Once again I ask for clarity because the law ought to be clear. This means that the court has to be satisfied that the applicant would actually withdraw the application if a costs-capping order is not provided. Is that based on the applicant saying that he or she would withdraw the application if no costs-capping order is given? If so, does that create an obligation for the applicant to withdraw if the costs-capping order is denied? It is perfectly possible that a costs-capping order might be asked for in very good faith by an organisation with very slender means or by an individual with very slender means who later finds that his or her cause is backed by a rather wealthier supporter. Therefore it is possible that the application could be saved after the denial of a costs-capping order, by some other party coming in to support the application, with all the liabilities attaching to that which we discussed this morning. Would that eventuality be denied by this provision in the Bill? We should be absolutely clear about that, because the word “satisfied” is a very strong word, it seems to me. How do you know that the applicant would withdraw in those circumstances? How can you possibly know such a thing unless the applicant has given such an undertaking? If the applicant has given such an undertaking, presumably that undertaking is enforceable. We are not told that in the Bill, but we ought to be told by the Minister whether that would be the effect that the Government seek.

Finally, I object very strongly to subsection (9), which has already been referred to as a Henry VIII clause. However, it is a Henry VIII clause of pretty extraordinary dimensions. One is used to Henry VIII clauses in legislation. There are far too many of them. There is one later on in the Bill under Clause 73. Clause 73(1) states:

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“The Lord Chancellor or the Secretary of State may by regulations make consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional, transitory or saving provision in relation to any provision of this Act”.

That is the sort of role that we associate with Henry VIII clauses—that is, adding something that is technical, that fills in some gaps at some point, but that does not change the main thrust of the primary legislation at all and merely makes it perhaps more easily implementable. That is an acceptable Henry VIII clause in principle. However, we are faced with the following in Clause 68(9):

“The Lord Chancellor may by regulations amend this section by adding, omitting or amending matters to which the court must have regard”.

In other words, the Lord Chancellor can rewrite the whole of the clause. That is an extreme form of a Henry VIII clause. It would probably be better described, by using some rather sinister terms from European history, as an Ermächtigungsgesetz or a plein pouvoir. To use a commercial analogy, I suppose that it is rather like a bidder or tenderer in a commercial contract who sends in a bid and says, “The price will be the following, the delivery date will be the following, the specifications will be the following”, and then adds a final clause saying, “The bidder may, at his discretion and without penalty or limitation, change any of the above at will”—in other words, devalue the whole document. The whole thing is complete nonsense because you cannot be certain that any of it will actually remain or that any of the apparent purposes in the text will actually influence reality in the future. The whole of this could be a complete waste of time by Parliament because, as I read subsection (9), the Lord Chancellor could go away and change anything in this clause at all, including the major substantive provisions: the terms, conditions and criteria by which a costs capping order can be considered. For the reasons that I and others have set out in this debate, that is actually a very important exercise.

Again, this is a completely unacceptable clause for government to put forward in any legislative context, and certainly in this one. I hope that the Government will withdraw the provision. I hope, better still, that the Government will withdraw the whole clause.

Lord Woolf: This costs capping provision was brought in because the nature of current litigation means that the costs of exercising your rights, whether as a claimant or defendant, are often prohibitive. Perhaps I may refer to one of the first matters where costs capping came before the courts. I was personally involved, so I hope that that does not make it inappropriate for me to refer to it. It was an action against tobacco companies that was brought by those who had suffered as a result of smoking. It illustrates that a situation can arise where, even with the help of conditional costs orders—of which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, was the original author—it is not possible for proceedings to be brought because the costs can be so great that no law firm could take the risks involved in bringing an action against the tobacco companies, which were going to fight them intensely and had huge commercial reasons for doing so. I suspect that the matter came before me because the precedent for those was, in fact, the litigation across the Atlantic. It is an indication

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that we have to take care to try to control costs capping orders. I refer to that because it seems to me questionable to regard these provisions as appropriate, if appropriate at all, only in regard to judicial review. I do not think that the reference to public interest proceedings would, for example, cover the tobacco proceedings of which I had experience.

In general, however, I agree entirely with the comments and points that have been made by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, and others who followed him, which are the basis of the amendments. It is also quite right to say that there is no possible justification for this to be done. I know that I am reiterating what I have argued before in relation to other provisions. However, this is not an example of the Government doing something that Parliament cannot do; it is an example of the Government doing something that they should not seek to do. Bearing in mind the relationship between the judiciary and the legislature, the legislature should not seek to impinge on a judicial discretion where there is no suggestion that there is any need to do so and where the court—in the case to which the Minister referred, the Corner House Research case, in 2005, 1 Weekly Law Reports2600—set out its views and the principles at that time. Those principles have had to be modified in the light of cases that have come before the court subsequently. Here is a natural process being developed whereby a problem arises—not of great dimensions, but very relevant to the very small minority of cases to which it refers—and the courts react to it.

3.15 pm

Legislation of this sort really is going beyond what any government department should, in my view, be seeking to achieve by legislation. Clause 69(1) provides that matters to be considered “should … include”. That simply illustrates the fact that it is not possible even in the provision proposed to do other than leave the matter wide open to further intervention by the courts to find other matters that should be included beyond those which have already been set out in the Corner House case.

I urge that the use of legislation to interfere in the settled processes of the development of procedure is not something that we should encourage, and allowing it to happen in this way, particularly with the introduction of a Henry VIII clause, as has been emphasised by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, makes it clear why the legislation should not be adopted.

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws: I too feel very concerned about this capping of costs. I see it as being part of a pattern of seeking to reduce the discretion of judges. Of course government Ministers do not say, “We don’t have confidence in the judiciary”, but that essentially is what this is about. It is about saying, “We have to use law to do this because the discretion of the court cannot be trusted to do what we seek to effect”. This amendment is about insulating the Government against challenge. All the clauses that we have been discussing today are essentially about seeking to limit judicial discretion, judges being the people who can weigh up carefully the merits in order to reach just

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decisions. That is being interfered with to protect the Government from challenge. That is what it ends up being about.

I too, therefore, support the amendment. The Government should think again about how this is perceived. The sitting judges cannot stand up and speak on their own behalf, as we know, so it falls on those who have been judges or who are active in the courts to alert the general public to what is happening. What we are doing is fettering the power of judges to do that which is right in a given case.

Lord Beecham: My Lords, it might be convenient to consider this group and the following group as one. The noble Lord, Lord Marks, has addressed his amendments in that group. I strongly support the amendments tabled by the noble Lords, Lord Pannick and Lord Marks, to which I have added my name, together with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, and the noble Lord, Lord Carlile. I speak therefore briefly to the amendments in my name. Amendment 75 is particularly important in that it addresses the problems facing applicants for permission in the absence of legal aid for that stage. Amendment 75A provides that the court may make an order at any stage of the proceedings, in connection with Clause 68(3), and Amendment 75B would extend this potential protection to interveners whose position we have debated in a somewhat different context earlier today. Amendment 75E removes the reference to the court considering information of a financial nature if such is only “likely to be available”—a phrase that we have already debated —in respect of Clause 68(5).

Without the protection of the amendments in the group, not least from the Government’s proposals about a public interest test, which the Lord Chancellor conveniently empowered to define the terms of such a test, the protection offered to parties by this clause would be diluted to homeopathic proportions.

In the next group, Amendment 80B would apply to Clause 69(2) and provide that a costs capping order limiting or removing the liability of the applicant to pay another party’s costs where an order is not granted should “normally” rather than mandatorily limit or remove the other party’s liability to pay the applicant’s costs if that is the case. That introduces an element of reciprocity. Amendment 80C alternatively would allow discretion by substituting “may” for “must” in the subsection; again the issue of judicial discretion raises its head.

We have heard powerful speeches from non-lawyers—the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, and my noble friends Lady Lister and Lord Davies—and, if I may say so, a magisterial rebuke to the Government from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf; that was not for the purposes of delivering an admonition but to persuade them of the error of their ways, which I hope the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, will convey to the Lord Chancellor with some effect. These provisions thoroughly dilute what ought to be a sensible measure to protect claimants in this particularly important area of jurisdiction.

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Lord Faulks: My Lords, this has been a useful debate and we have, by agreement, covered two groups. I will therefore respond on behalf of the Government in respect of both groups, which are effectively concerned with the same subject matter—namely, costs capping.

Clauses 68 and 69 would build on case law, particularly the Corner House case referred to by a number of noble Lords, to establish a codified costs capping regime for judicial review proceedings, to govern what is ordinarily or alternatively referred to as a protective costs order. These provisions would put protective costs orders on a statutory footing. At present, a court can make a protective costs order before it has considered whether a claimant’s case is suitable to be given permission to proceed to judicial review. Claimants with what may turn out to be weak cases can thus benefit from costs protection even if the court subsequently decides that their case should not be given permission for judicial review, thereby leaving the public body to pay its own costs of dealing with a case which had no merit. Effectively, a claimant would have had a risk-free process until then.

Subsection (3) of Clause 68 seeks to address this by ensuring that a costs capping order can be made only if permission is granted for the judicial review to proceed. Amendments 75 and 75A would remove this principle, thereby allowing the court to make an order at any stage of the proceedings.

The Government intend to ensure that, when considering bringing a judicial review, would-be claimants give due consideration to the merit of their case, so that public bodies do not bear the financial burden of unmeritorious claims. The provision should not deter those who have cases with substantial and proper grounds for challenging the Government. On the other hand, people are generally cautious about proceeding with litigation in all contexts. They would do so only if they had reasonable prospects of success, having balanced what might be obtained from the litigation and the costs of doing it. We do not therefore think that a measure of proper deterrence is inappropriate in these circumstances.

I am happy to assure your Lordships that under Clause 68 a costs capping order may cover costs incurred prior to the grant of permission, as at present. The applicant can, as now, ask the court to make the order as part of the permission application. It is right, however, that until permission is granted the claimant should bear the financial risk of bringing a weak claim because, ex hypothesi, it will be weak.

Amendment 75E seeks to remove the requirement for the court to be provided with information on funding likely to be available to an applicant when deciding whether to make a costs capping order. I do not agree that prospective funding should be excluded from the information an applicant is expected to disclose or that the court should not be asked to consider it when making the order. It is vital—and this echoes arguments made in the previous group—that the courts are aware of the full financial underpinnings of a claim. This allows the court to assess whether a claim, although notionally brought by a claimant of limited means, is in fact sufficiently well resourced not to require subsidy by way of costs protection. The Corner

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House principles require courts to consider the financial resources of claimants who request costs capping orders to ensure that any award made is fair and just. This should be reflected in this new regime, firmly to re-establish the principle.

Clause 68 also provides that in judicial review proceedings a court may make a costs capping order in favour of a claimant only if it considers that the proceedings are “public interest proceedings”, and sets out factors the court must consider in making this decision. This reflects the principle in the Corner House case that costs capping orders should be made only if the issues raised are of general public importance and the public interest requires those issues to be resolved. Part of the effect of Amendment 75F would be to remove any public interest requirement, and Amendment 77 would remove the list of factors to which the court should have regard when considering whether the case is in the public interest.

The Government consider that it is right that costs capping orders should be made only in public interest cases, otherwise costs capping orders could be made in cases where no order would have been made under the Corner House principles. In fact, the amendments are therefore effectively a loosening of the established law. The taxpayer should be asked to subsidise cases only where there truly is a public interest in the case proceeding.

Lord Pannick: The Minister mentioned the interests of the taxpayer. Can he assist the Committee on how many costs capping orders have, in fact, been made over the past few years, other than in environmental cases, which are dealt with separately in Clause 70?

Lord Faulks: The noble Lord mentioned a figure of 30 such cases. I do not have any precise figures.

Lord Pannick: I mentioned 20 cases, which covered all the environmental claims. I think that there have been only a handful—two or three—costs capping orders that are not environmental. Does the Minister have any more authoritative figures, because I do not understand the problem to be substantial?

Lord Faulks: I do not have any more authoritative figures. I will certainly write to the Committee before Report giving those figures, if they are available. I cannot guarantee that they are available, but if they are, I will certainly assist the Committee. We have, however, to consider not only the past position but the position prospectively. It is necessary in this context to consider what might be done in the future were there, as some of these amendments suggest, to be a loosening of the rules.

It is important that the matters listed in the clause are taken into account. I do not consider the factors to be contentious. Common sense dictates that, in deciding whether proceedings are public interest proceedings, consideration needs to be given to the number of people directly affected and the significance of the effect. It is also right that the court considers whether the proceedings involve consideration of a point of law of general public importance.

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Clause 68 sets out three requirements in subsection (6) that proceedings must meet before a costs capping order can be made: first, that the proceedings are “public interest proceedings”; secondly, that in the absence of the costs capping order the claimant would not continue with the judicial review; and, thirdly, that it would be reasonable for the claimant to act in this way. Amendment 75F seeks to remove these entirely and Amendment 76 would remove the third of these criteria.

The noble Lord, Lord Pannick, was concerned about how this subsection would be interpreted.

Lord Davies of Stamford: The noble Lord has just read out the criteria for making a costs capping order in subsection (6). Does he agree that because of the Henry VIII-plus provision in subsection (9), all those criteria could equally well be set aside, waived or completely changed simply by fiat of the Lord Chancellor at any time?

3.30 pm

Lord Faulks: As the noble Lord would expect, I am coming on to consider the Henry VIII clause, so perhaps he will be kind enough to bear with me until I come to address that particular issue.

In the mean time, I shall deal with the assessment of whether it was reasonable to discontinue the claim, which was a question from the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. This was not in the summary of the Corner House case, and it was only a summary that I endeavoured to assist the Committee with. It is a matter that we can find in the case. The provision in respect of the claimant being reasonable in discontinuing their claim comes from the Corner House principles. The court now assesses whether, without a protective costs order, the claimant would be reasonable in discontinuing their claim based on the lack of financial protection. All that we are seeking to do in statute is to confirm what is already in that case. I will come on to the point about the Henry VIII clause.

It was a requirement of the Corner House case that capping orders may only be in cases where the issues raised were of general public importance. The public interest requires that those issues be resolved and if a costs capping order is not made, the claimant would discontinue the proceedings and would act reasonably in doing so. The Government are not of the view that those requirements should be removed. Amendments 75F, 77 and 81 would remove from Clauses 68 and 69 powers for the Lord Chancellor to amend lists of matters within these clauses through statutory instrument. We do not believe that that is a sensible approach. I will set out why.

Removing the powers to amend these lists of matters would prevent us from responding quickly should it become necessary. Over time we have seen the development of the principles governing where a costs capping order should be made. That is clear from the changes that have been made to the principle set out in the Corner House case, referred to by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, in his contribution to the debate. It may be the case that there are future

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developments which mean that it would be appropriate for the courts to consider different matters when deciding whether, for example, proceedings are public interest proceedings. These powers give us the ability to respond quickly should change be needed. While this is done through statutory instrument rather than primary legislation, it does not mean that Parliament will be unable to consider any changes. Both powers are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, so any changes will be debated in both Houses before coming into force. I also note that the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, whose report was discussed earlier in Committee, recommended the creation of a similar model elsewhere in this part.

This is not a question of the Lord Chancellor, as it were, having a free opportunity simply to alter the whole burden or interpretation of the clause. When dealing with the present position of the Lord Chancellor, the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, referred to the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the position of the Lord Chancellor generally. Of course, the Government responded to that report, as she will be aware. In particular, it referred to Section 1 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which expressly provides that its provisions do not affect the existing constitutional principle of the rule of law or the Lord Chancellor’s existing constitutional role in relation to that principle. Furthermore, the Lord Chancellor’s oath specifies that his role is to,

“respect the rule of law”.

It suggests that the responsibility of the Secretary of State, for example, regarding sentencing or prisons, undermines the Lord Chancellor’s responsibilities for justice and the rule of law. It is a big question which I understand has been considered by the Constitution Committee of your Lordships’ House. I do not think it would be appropriate for me to comment further except to say that, as I think the Lord Chancellor has said on a number of occasions, he is very mindful of his oath and his obligations in that regard. As the noble Baroness herself acknowledged, the change—to put it neutrally—to the Lord Chancellor’s role was brought about in something of a hurry by the party opposite when in power.

I turn to Amendment 75B, which seeks to extend the protection of costs capping orders to those who intervene in judicial reviews even though they are not parties to the proceedings. We see that as a step too far. Under the current scheme, I believe that interveners do not receive such orders. It would not be consistent with their status as a non-party. For example, an intervener could not, as required under the clause and the Corner House principles, meet the criteria of discontinuing the proceedings. I said in the debate on Clause 67 that an intervention should be made in a way that does not incur additional costs for the claimant or to the usually taxpayer-funded defendant. There are sufficient safeguards set out in Clause 67 to render this amendment unnecessary. For example, if the court considers that there are exceptional circumstances that make it inappropriate for the intervener to pay those costs, it will not award costs.

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The Government accept that the court should continue to be able to grant cost protection where the issues are genuinely of public importance and the case cannot proceed otherwise because of the costs risk, but we wish to ensure that they are not made widely or in any way routinely. As the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, pointed out, they may not be very frequent, but we certainly do not want to increase their use or increase their use in different circumstances. It is only in exceptional meritorious cases, where there are serious issues of the highest public interest that otherwise would not be taken forward, that a public body defendant should have to pay its own costs regardless of whether it wins or loses. The clause retains the principle that the costs are a matter for the judiciary. When considering an application for a costs capping order, it will be for the judge, as currently, to decide whether the particular proceedings are in the public interest and whether an order should be made in an individual case. I am extremely mindful of the comments made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, in the context of this and other amendments—indeed throughout Part 4. In his view and that of other noble Lords, it is an encroachment into judicial territory. It is said that Parliament should not be involved in areas where judges can develop the law and where they exercise their discretion. I understand that point. The Government do not seek to fetter the discretion inappropriately but none the less consider it appropriate to set out with some clarity what the provisions are while still permitting there to be judicial discretion, as indeed is appropriate.

Lord Davies of Stamford: Before moving to the next clause, I wonder whether the Minister would be kind enough to address the two questions I asked on how the court will satisfy the obligation that will be imposed on it by the Bill that an applicant would not proceed if a costs-cutting order were denied. My two questions were: would the applicant be asked the question and be required to make a statement saying that he or she would desist from an application if a costs-cutting order was not available? Secondly, in the event that such a declaration was made, would it be enforceable and would the applicant be held to it? In other words, would it in all circumstances be the end of that application, even if other sources of funding could, at that late stage, be found, even if they were not anticipated?

Lord Faulks: Those are precisely the circumstances in which we think the matter is best left to the judges. Indeed, judges have been performing such an exercise under the Corner House principles, which would not alter if the Bill is enacted in the way in which the Government suggest.

Clause 69 sets out the way in which a court should approach the decision of whether to make a costs capping order and the terms of such an order if made. It contains a list of five factors that the court must consider as part of this process. Noble Lords will recognise that, with one exception at subsection (1)(e), the factors build on considerations for making a costs capping order which were set out in the Corner House case.

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Amendment 78 seeks to make it optional for the court to have regard to these factors. It is right that the court must consider the factors at Clause 69 when considering whether to make a costs-capping order as they are of great importance in ensuring that a costs-capping order is not awarded where it is unnecessary. However, the courts still have discretion, as the clause does not inhibit the courts’ discretion in deciding how much weight, if any, should be given to each factor. In addition, the list is not exhaustive, meaning that courts can have regard to any other factors which they consider to be relevant to the case before them. Amendment 78 is therefore unnecessary in the Government’s view.

In order to understand the effect of Amendment 77A, it is necessary to consider Amendment 75F, which is discussed in a later group and which removes the requirements for making a costs-capping order from Clause 68. When taking this amendment into account, the effect of Amendment 77A is to grant the court a general discretion to make costs capping orders, provided it is of the view that an order would be just, having considered the circumstances of the case, including the factors set out at Clause 69.

Amendment 80A transposes the requirements from Clause 68 that are removed by Amendment 75F into Clause 69, where they become additional factors that the court must take into account when considering whether to make an order, instead of requirements which must be met before an order can be made. Amendment 80 also adds an additional factor to the list of factors for the court to consider, which is the likely effect on the applicant if a costs-capping order is not granted.

Amendments 77A and 80A go too far, particularly when taking Amendment 75F into consideration. The effect of these amendments together would be that a number of the Corner House principles, which must currently be satisfied before a court can make a costs-capping order, would merely become factors for the court to consider, allowing an order to be made in cases where none of those principles was fulfilled. We suggest that that cannot be right. The principles set down in this case must be the starting point, and must certainly be satisfied before the taxpayer is asked to subsidise the cost of the litigation.

Amendments 79 and 80 seek to amend the list of factors in Clause 69 that the courts have to consider. Specifically, they seek to remove the requirement that the courts have regard to: the financial resources of third parties who have provided or may provide financial support to the parties; and the extent to which third parties who have provided or may provide financial support to the claimant are likely to benefit if the claimant is granted a remedy in judicial review.

Amendment 79 would mean that the court would not have to take into consideration the financial resources of third parties who may provide funding in the future. This would mean that the court would not have a full picture available when deciding whether it was appropriate to grant costs protection. We do not agree that this is a sensible position. Courts should consider information relating to potential sources, otherwise it could lead to orders being made in cases where it is not necessary or appropriate and, should the claimant lose, would result

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in the taxpayer being asked to pick up the bill. Again in the Corner House case, one of the requirements was that the court should have regard to the financial resources of the parties to ensure that any order the court made was fair and just.

I would like to reassure noble Lords that we intend to provide a safeguard so that, where a claimant has told the court—this perhaps answers to some extent the residual query of the noble Lord, Lord Davies—that it expects to receive future financial support and that support is ultimately not forthcoming, the claimant will be able to inform the court so the court can take the change of circumstances into consideration. Clause 68 provides that rules of court will set out the information that a claimant must provide when applying for a costs-capping order. We will invite the Civil Procedure Rule Committee to include the safeguard in those rules. While it may be argued that an alternative to this safeguard would be for the court to take account of financial support only once it has been received, I do not think that this would be appropriate as the making of the costs-capping order may well remove the need for that support, meaning it might never be forthcoming.

Amendment 80 would remove the requirement that the court considers the benefit to a potential third-party funder. The Corner House principles recognise that a claimant’s private interest in a case is a relevant factor when considering whether to grant a costs-capping order. This principle from Corner House is reflected in Clause 69, which requires the court to consider the extent to which a grant of relief in the judicial review would be of benefit to the claimant and third parties who have funded or may fund the claimant’s case. It is right that the court consider the full picture when considering whether to make an order.

Clause 69 also requires that, when a court makes a costs-capping order in favour of the claimant, it must also make one for the defendant—a matter referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Deech—thereby limiting the defendant’s liability for the claimant’s costs should the defendant lose. Such orders are commonly known as cross caps and are not new. A court will often already make such an order in practice, but we think that in future they should be made in all cases where the claimant is granted costs protection. Amendments 80B and 80C would weaken this principle so that the courts may, or should normally, impose a cross cap. I accept that in most cases a public body has more resources available to it than a private individual. However, they are not unlimited, as the noble Baroness quite rightly said. These resources ultimately come from the taxpayer and it is right that they should also have costs protection. This subsection reflects the general principle in civil cases that overall costs should remain within reasonable limits and that the taxpayer is not asked to subsidise a disproportionately large costs bill.

I entirely accept what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, said, that sometimes the courts have to intervene to protect claimants where otherwise a claim simply could not be brought. It is a difficult balance to achieve, begun modestly by my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay and expanded upon subsequently in a way that effectively resulted in unfairness to the

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defendant. It is always difficult to establish a regime that entitles proper access to justice, but nevertheless retains a level playing field for all parties.

We say that neither this subsection nor the clause as a whole will take away the discretion of the courts—I emphasise this—to make decisions on costs. The clause does not prescribe the level of the caps; judges will be able to set the caps at levels tailored to the cases before them. The levels of the claimants’ and defendants’ caps may naturally be different, depending on their means. This, I believe, will address any imbalance between the financial positions of the parties. It remains a matter for the court to decide whether a costs-capping order should be granted in individual cases, and the terms of that order. This is the only appropriate way to ensure that these orders are made only in cases that genuinely need them and are set at a level that properly reflects the financial position of the claimant.

3.45 pm

I have endeavoured to deal with almost all the points, but I did not deal earlier with the question raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, who understandably felt it was difficult for her to intervene when we were talking about interventions. I now do so. She is quite right that the contribution that was made by an intervention in the first instance in the case of Burke was no doubt valuable. I entirely accept that interventions can often be of use to the court, albeit as I said on that particular case the decision was reversed. However, that does not undermine the generality of her point and I accept that.

I hope I have responded to the various amendments, I am afraid at some excessive length—there were a number of them. I hope it has at least enabled the Committee to see the Government’s thinking and why they have felt it appropriate to put these provisions in the Bill.

Lord Pannick: I thank the Minister. He has responded fully. The way in which he has presented the Government’s case throughout our deliberations on the Bill has been helpful and he is showing great patience in dealing with all the points that have been raised. I thank him for that.

Notwithstanding that, three essential points arise under Clauses 68 and 69, as with all the other parts of Part 4 that we debated on Monday and today. They are three issues that the Minister really does need to consider further. The first—and I should be grateful if the noble Lord could respond before Report—is: what is the mischief that Clauses 68 and 69 seek to address? How many of these costs-capping orders apply other than in the specialised field of environmental cases, which are dealt with separately under Clause 70 because of the convention that applies to them? His answer to that was, “Well, the Government are also concerned about the future”. Of course, that is right, but is there any basis for thinking that the way in which the judges have dealt with this issue and will continue to deal with it is inadequate in any sense? I do not understand what the mischief is.

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The second point that the Minister needs to reflect on is whether any mischief is sufficiently substantial to justify confining judicial discretion in this area and conferring powers on the Lord Chancellor to regulate this area by subordinate legislation.

The third point that I ask the Minister to reflect on is what the consequences will be for access to justice. As he has heard, a number of noble Lords are concerned that the result will inevitably be detrimental.

I very much hope that over the summer the Minister will have the opportunity to sit down with the Lord Chancellor, Mr Grayling, perhaps on a beach somewhere —I know how dedicated the noble Lord is to his departmental responsibilities—and explain to him the difficulties that have been addressed on Clauses 68 and 69. If, as I hope, the Minister has the opportunity to do that, then perhaps together with his sun cream he will take with him a red pen to strike out the parts of these clauses that have been criticised. If he does not do so, I suspect that on Report this House will want carefully to consider doing precisely that for the Government. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 75 withdrawn.

Amendments 75A to 77 not moved.

Clause 68 agreed.

Clause 69: Capping of costs: orders and their terms

Amendments 77A to 81 not moved.

Amendment 81A

Moved by Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames

81A: Clause 69, page 70, line 14, at end insert—

“( ) Subsection (1) shall apply subject to the requirement imposed by section 70(3) in proceedings to which that section applies.”

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames: My Lords, this group of amendments concerns environmental judicial review cases and relates principally to Clause 70.

Under the Aarhus convention—or, to give it its full title, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters—made in 1998 and ratified by the United Kingdom in 2005, the United Kingdom committed itself to ensuring that environmental litigation will be,

“fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive”.

Compliance with the convention is monitored by a compliance committee to which Governments and the public, whether individuals or corporate bodies, can complain of non-compliance with the convention provisions. By rules of court contained in the Civil Procedure Rules—at Rules 45.41-44—the courts in England and Wales have introduced rules limiting costs awards in Aarhus convention judicial review claims to relatively low fixed sums: currently, £5,000

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against an individual claimant, £10,000 against a claimant which is a business or other legal person, or £35,000 against a defendant. There are, I understand, similar provisions in Scotland.

There is a detailed but relatively simple and quick procedure under the rules for a defendant to challenge a claimant’s contention that a claim is indeed an Aarhus convention claim. Clause 70 is an attempt to enable the Lord Chancellor, by regulations, to comply with the Aarhus convention by providing for the costs-capping restrictions in Clauses 68 and 69, which we have just discussed, to be excluded,

“in relation to judicial review proceedings which, in the Lord Chancellor’s opinion, have as their subject an issue relating entirely or partly to the environment”.

I regret that, as an attempt to comply with the Aarhus convention, Clause 70 is, as drawn, inadequate in a number of respects. First, the clause is merely permissive and not mandatory. It states:

“The Lord Chancellor may by regulations provide”.

For so long as the Lord Chancellor fails to exercise his power to make regulations under the clause, it is self-evident that the United Kingdom will be in breach of the Aarhus convention by its restrictions on costs capping in applicable cases.

Secondly, the clause would apply only to exclude or restrict the application of Clauses 68 and 69, limiting costs capping or protective costs orders. For all the reasons given to this Committee in earlier debates, the effects of Clauses 65 and 66 would be to expose anyone lending financial support to judicial review proceedings to an application for the whole cost of the proceedings if they are unsuccessful, with what amounts to a presumption that such a costs order is likely to be made against any such supporter. It is completely clear that the effect of such clauses is to make such litigation prohibitively expensive within the meaning of the Aarhus convention.

Furthermore, as has been explained at length today, Clause 67, if enacted, would have the effect of exposing interveners to a costs order against them in any case in which they intervene, win or lose. It would prevent them from getting their costs, however good their case and however helpful their intervention, even from a thoroughly unmeritorious defendant, unless the court could find “exceptional circumstances”. I submit that it is clear beyond argument that those clauses would make environmental judicial review cases prohibitively expensive, just as devastatingly as the restrictions on costs capping to which Clause 70 is presently limited in its application.

The next problem with Clause 70 is that it refers only to environmental judicial review cases. The Aarhus convention itself is not so limited. The compliance committee found, as long ago as 2008, in a case concerned with odours emanating from the defendant’s waste site, that private nuisance claims relating to environmental matters were also cases to which the Aarhus convention applied. Indeed, only last week, in the case of Austin v Miller Argent (South Wales) Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 1012, the Court of Appeal ruled, in a judgment given by Lord Justice Elias with which Lord Justice Pitchford agreed, that the court did not,

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“see why in an appropriate case a private nuisance claim should not be treated as one of the judicial procedures referred to in Article 9.3”,

of the Aarhus convention. In that case, a protective costs order was not made on its facts, but the principle was clearly established that private nuisance cases could fall within the Aarhus convention.

The Public Bill Office has taken the view that the Long Title of this Bill is insufficiently wide to encompass amendments that deal with the applicability of the Aarhus convention to proceedings that are not claims for judicial review. I therefore invite my noble friend the Minister—if he does not already have enough business with his sun cream and his red pen—to consider widening the Long Title to enable the Government to introduce or consider amendments on Report to address non-compliance by the United Kingdom with the provisions of the convention outside the scope of judicial review, in particular in private nuisance claims.

A further weakness of Clause 70 is in the definition of its applicability. It applies to claims which are,

“in the Lord Chancellor’s opinion”,

environmental claims. That test both fails to tie the applicability of the clause to the terms of the convention itself and leaves the definition of what is or is not a claim within the clause entirely to the opinion of the Lord Chancellor. I fail to see why that should be thought an appropriate way of drafting the clause, given that rules of court have already established, in CPR 45.41 and 45.44, both a satisfactory definition tied precisely to the convention, albeit limited to judicial review claims—which I dispute—and a quick and effective method of determining whether a claim lies within that definition. I add in parenthesis that it is quite unclear from Clause 70 whether the existing rules of court would survive—or, if not, what would happen to them.

The convention compliance committee made findings in 2010 that the United Kingdom was in breach of the convention by reason of the general principle in our courts that costs follow the event. It made those findings despite the UK Government’s submissions that the availability of legal aid, conditional fee agreements and protective costs orders, and the wide discretion given to judges on costs, limit the severity of the general principle that costs follow the event in its application.

Those findings by the compliance committee of course predated the restrictions on legal aid, which were limited in the way that was correctly described by my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay earlier today. They also predated the restrictions on the recoverability of success fees and ATE insurance premiums and, of course, the restrictions on protective costs orders that are proposed by this legislation in the two clauses that we have just considered. At the very least, to even approach compliance with the convention, it is necessary to introduce exceptions, in cases to which the convention applies, to the restriction on the availability of legal aid at the permission stage and to the restriction on the recoverability of success fees and ATE insurance premiums.

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4 pm

Our Amendments 81A, 81C, 82C and 82D would address the issues I have mentioned as follows. Amendment 81A would make the provisions of Clause 69(1) subject to a revised Clause 70. Amendment 81C, via proposed new subsection (2), would exclude, in claims to which the convention applied, both the provisions in the Bill on financial information and interveners in Clauses 65 to 67, and the restrictions on the recovery of success fees and ATE insurance premiums, thus deleting the applicability of those clauses to Aarhus convention claims. Proposed new subsection (3) would require the court to make a costs capping order in convention cases, if the courts considered that the lack of such an order would indeed entail a breach of the convention. Proposed new subsections (4) and (5) would provide for new rules of court and for the courts to have regard to the reports of the compliance committee, which I suggest is an important feature.

Amendment 82C would introduce a definition of the convention and of an Aarhus convention claim which would be consistent with the existing rules but would widen the definition of such a claim to include cases within the convention that were not judicial review claims, as the Court of Appeal has suggested is right. It would also ensure, importantly, that any definition in court rules of the convention or a convention claim was consistent with the definition in the clause. Amendment 82D would add an exceptional case in respect of Aarhus convention judicial review claims to the legal aid exceptions in the LASPO Act. Those exceptions currently exist for cases which allege a breach of a claimant’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights or a breach of an individual’s enforceable EU rights to the provision of legal services. So claims that were Aarhus convention claims would be added.

This is a complicated area, and the Aarhus convention and its applicability are complicated matters. However, I start from the position that it is essential to the rule of law and to international relations that the United Kingdom should both comply and be seen to comply with its international obligations, such as those under the Aarhus convention. I apologise to noble Lords for taking some time to introduce these amendments, but I commend them to the Committee and look forward to my noble friend’s response. I beg to move.

Lord Beecham: My Lords, I will compensate for the length of time that the noble Lord took—quite rightly—in moving his amendment by being commensurately brief in my remarks. On behalf of the Opposition, I support a stand part negative, as it were, in relation to Clause 70, for the reasons that the noble Lord advanced.

Amendment 82B, in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Kennedy, would effectively disapply Clauses 64 to 69 in favour of the terms set out, which would align the situation to that of the Aarhus convention. I think we are of one mind in inviting the Government to look again into this issue. It is another example of them failing to appreciate the implications—to put it in a benevolent sort of way—of what they are doing in this connection, not just to domestic concerns but to the international obligations to which we subscribe. I hope

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the Government will listen seriously to the noble Lord’s critique, look again at the amendments tabled, including the amendment in my name, and revise their position before we get much further down the road with this Bill.

Lord Faulks: My Lords, I am grateful to both noble Lords—my noble friend Lord Marks and the noble Lord, Lord Beecham—for their contributions to this debate. Clause 70 enables provision to be made to exclude judicial reviews about issues which relate entirely or partly to the environment from the revised costs capping regime established in Clauses 68 and 69, which we debated in the previous group. Clause 70 is to reflect our obligations under the Aarhus convention and the various European directives which implement it, which set out requirements for access to justice concerning environmental matters. This includes a stipulation that such procedures must be,

“fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive”.

This is relevant to judicial reviews in certain environmental cases. Allowing for such environmental cases to be excluded from the costs capping regime in Clauses 68 and 69 allows the Secretary of State enough flexibility to meet future changes in the international landscape. A separate regime has already been established in the Civil Procedure Rules to govern costs capping orders in such cases in England and Wales. It applies a fixed costs framework under which, in a claim raising issues that fall under the Aarhus convention, the liability of the claimant to pay the defendant’s costs is automatically capped at certain levels. This regime is simple to operate and understand.

Amendments 81C and 82B would seek to exclude certain types of judicial review from the provisions in Clauses 64 to 69. Those claims might be considered very broadly as “environmental”. Amendment 81C defines those cases that are excluded by reference to the Aarhus convention and introduces a requirement that, provided certain conditions are met, costs capping orders should be made in these cases.

Amendment 81C also aims to restore the full recoverable success fee and after-the-event insurance premium structure that the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 removed, implementing the Jackson reforms to reduce excessive costs in civil litigation. Amendment 82C would seek to define what would fall within the definition of an Aarhus convention claim. Amendment 81A is contingent on Amendment 81C. Its effect is to make Clause 69 subject to the changes to Clause 70, which I have already discussed.

Attempting to define these claims in statute risks either being too generous and gold-plating the Aarhus requirements, or alternatively being too restrictive and missing out claims which should be caught by the Aarhus regime. The definition as set out in the proposed new clause is very broad, and appears to err on the side of gold-plating. In particular, we would not necessarily accept that all private law claims falling within the new clause should come under the term “Aarhus Convention claim”.

The Government see no reason for excluding additional cases, particularly such a broad range of cases as would be covered by these amendments. Too broad a

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definition would create an incentive for claimants to characterise their claims as “environmental”, generating satellite litigation and assisting, for example, those bringing weak claims to shelter from their proper costs liability. In the Government’s view Clause 70, which allows for the exclusion of certain environmental judicial reviews from the new protective costs order regime which Clauses 68 and 69 will establish, is sufficient to ensure compliance with our obligations under the Aarhus convention and the directives which implement it. The proposed new clauses would upset the careful balance between ensuring the proper measure of access to justice in environmental and other matters and ensuring that judicial review is not misused.

I turn now to Amendment 82D. The new clause seeks to amend Section 10 of the LASPO Act, which makes provision about exceptional case determinations for individuals, and Schedule 3 to that Act, which makes provision about exceptional case determinations for legal persons, so that Section 10 and Schedule 3 would both refer explicitly to claims for judicial review related to the Aarhus convention. The Government do not believe that such an inclusion is necessary. First, funding would already be available to bring a judicial review with a potential benefit to the environment, subject to the merits and means test. This is in the scope of the general civil legal aid scheme by virtue of paragraph 19 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to LASPO. Section 10 of LASPO provides for exceptional funding in cases that are outside the general scope of civil legal aid. Secondly, along with the provisions of the Aarhus convention, this amendment is concerned with reflecting EU directives. The current provisions under Section 10 and Schedule 3 already provide for legal aid to be granted where it is necessary to make the services available to the individual or legal person because failure to do so would be a breach of the individual or the person’s enforceable EU rights.

The noble Lord, Lord Marks, referred to reviewing the CPR. The Government have committed to reviewing the costs regime for environmental cases when the European Court of Justice handed down its judgment in the Commission v the United Kingdom case. Following that judgment in February this year, and recent case law, we are reviewing the current costs regime. As part of that review, we will consider whether the current costs regime for Aarhus claims should make provision for statutory review proceedings dealing with environmental matters, look at what scope there is to amend the current cap—which is currently £5,000 for individuals and £10,000 for businesses—and consider the principles determining what level of costs in a particular case would be prohibitively expensive, as set out in Edwards v Environment Agency and reiterated by the European Court of Justice in its various infraction judgments, and whether they could be included in the costs regime.

The Government do not accept that all private nuisance claims are caught by the convention requirements. They tend to focus on enabling those with interests in land to protect their private property rights rather than enabling members of the public to challenge environmentally deleterious acts. However, on the occasions where a private nuisance claim relates to actions which do not merely harm the claimant’s

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private property rights but contravene provisions of national law relating to the environment, there are judicial and administrative procedures which may be relied upon by members of the public.

The Aarhus convention protects the right of environmental NGOs to bring judicial proceedings. It is not necessary to intervene in existing cases, so Clause 67 does not put the UK in breach. As to reviewing the application of LASPO to this area, I recall that during the debate when the LASPO Bill was going through Parliament there was an attempt to carve out an exception for cases of this sort. As the noble Lord, Lord Marks, and the Committee will have heard me say, the Government are committed to reviewing the effect of the LASPO provisions, but it is far too early to do so in this particular context. The review will take place within five years—perhaps sooner than five years, but certainly not much sooner—so as to allow a full review of the effect, bearing in mind in particular that there was a large spike in cases before April 2013, the cut-off date, which may make it very difficult to analyse satisfactorily the effect of LASPO.

Of course, I will reflect carefully on the observations of my noble friend Lord Marks and the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, but I gratefully decline my noble friend’s invitation to amend the Long Title of the Bill as currently advised. It is our view that these provisions are sufficient to ensure compliance with our obligations under the convention and the EU directives. I therefore respectfully invite the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames: My Lords, I am bound to say that I am not greatly surprised by my noble friend’s declining to amend the Long Title of the Bill. I merely say that the amendments that I and others have put forward are directed only at making the United Kingdom’s procedures compliant with the Aarhus convention. I entirely take on board what he said about the impending review of the rules in the light of the European case, and I understand what he said about private nuisance claims. It is certainly not the case, and I never suggested that it was, that all private nuisance claims are covered. I am merely repeating the decision of the Court of Appeal that there is no reason why private nuisance claims relating to environmental matters should not be Aarhus convention claims. At the moment we have no costs regime to enable compliance with the convention in respect of those.

As far as legal aid is concerned, I entirely take my noble friend’s point about the review of LASPO that is due. My point is directed only at the fact that at the permission stage there is now a restriction on legal aid for judicial review claims that ought not to apply to Aarhus convention claims. In those circumstances I of course beg leave to withdraw my amendments at this stage, but I do rely on my noble friends having an opportunity to consider what I have said during the Recess and to come back and report.

Amendment 81A withdrawn.

Clause 69 agreed.

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4.15 pm

Clause 70: Capping of costs: environmental cases

Amendments 81B and 81C not moved.

Clause 70 agreed.

Amendment 82

Moved by Lord Pannick

82: After Clause 70, insert the following new Clause—

“Legal aid for judicial review

(1) The Lord Chancellor may not use the powers in section 2 or 9 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 to alter the eligibility of any individual for legal aid for judicial review proceedings (including applications for permission to apply for judicial review).

(2) Any statutory instrument made under the provisions referred to in subsection (1) and which otherwise alters eligibility in the manner specified in subsection (1) ceases to have effect in relation to legal aid for such proceedings.”

Lord Pannick: My Lords, Amendment 82 would introduce a new clause to prevent the Lord Chancellor from using the powers which he was granted under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012—LASPO—to alter eligibility for legal aid in judicial review proceedings. Amendment 85 would ensure that the new clause comes into force on the enactment of the Bill and so would not be dependent on the discretion of the Lord Chancellor.

Your Lordships will recall that during the debates on LASPO—and they were detailed, anxious debates—Ministers repeatedly gave assurances that restrictions on legal aid in the Bill did not affect and restrict judicial review. Had the Bill contained such restrictions, I have no doubt that Ministers would have found it difficult to secure the approval of this House. Instead of bringing forward proposals for restrictions on the availability of legal aid for judicial review by way of primary legislation, so that they could be fully scrutinised, the Lord Chancellor has limited legal aid in judicial review by subordinate legislation. As your Lordships will know, such subordinate legislation receives only limited scrutiny in this House: amendments cannot be tabled and the convention is that we rarely table—far less approve—a fatal Motion, however foolish the regulations may be.

To give one example, your Lordships may recall that on 7 May this House debated a Motion of Regret, which I had tabled, in relation to the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2014. Those regulations made a fundamental change. They provided that the Lord Chancellor must not pay legal aid fees unless the court gives permission to bring judicial review proceedings, or, if the court neither refuses nor grants permission, the Lord Chancellor thinks it reasonable to pay legal aid remuneration. Eleven noble Lords spoke in support of the Motion of Regret. The Minister batted at both ends, bowled and fielded on his own with no support from any noble Lord.

Legal aid for judicial review is too important a matter for secondary legislation. If the Lord Chancellor wishes to reduce legal aid in the context of judicial review, let him bring forward proposals for primary

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legislation so that they can be properly scrutinised and fully debated. Amendments 82 and 85 would secure that objective and would nullify the regulations that we debated on 7 May.

I have also added my name to Amendment 82A, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Beecham. I will say something very briefly about it. It addresses the residence regulations that would have confined legal aid to those resident in this country. In our debates today on Part 4 of the Bill, it should not go unrecorded that on 15 July the High Court declared those regulations to be an unlawful exercise of the powers conferred by the 2012 Act. That was because Parliament had identified those services qualifying for legal aid by reference to need, and the regulations adopted a different criterion. Indeed, under the regulations, many people with the greatest need and whose cases are properly arguable would be denied legal aid. The case is the Queen on the Application of Public Law Project v the Secretary of State for Justice, 15 July 2014.

At paragraph 60 of the judgment of Lord Justice Moses, with which Mr Justice Collins and Mr Justice Jay agreed, the court referred to the comments of the Secretary of State for Justice, Mr Grayling, in the Telegraph newspaper on 20 April. That was two weeks after the argument in the case had concluded in court, and before the judgment of the court was given. Mr Grayling, the Secretary of State, said that,

“yes, you’ve guessed it. Another group of Left-wing lawyers has taken us to court to try to stop the proposals”.

The High Court commented on this newspaper article at paragraph 60 of the judgment. Lord Justice Moses said that these comments by the Lord Chancellor were,

“unrestrained by any courtesy to his opponents, or even by that customary caution to be expected while the Court considers its judgement, and unmindful of the independent advocate’s appreciation that it is usually more persuasive to attempt to kick the ball than your opponent’s shins”.

At paragraph 83 of the judgment, the court added that the Lord Chancellor’s reliance in that case on “public confidence” in his defence,

“amounts to little more than reliance on public prejudice”.

This is a quite remarkable judicial rebuke for the Lord Chancellor, and I hope that he will reflect on what the court says.

This is the last group of amendments that we are considering on Part 4. As this Committee leaves this part, I suggest to noble Lords that that judgment of three judges in the High Court confirms the criticisms that this Committee has heard about the Lord Chancellor’s lack of understanding of the central role of judicial review in maintaining the rule of law, and it provides yet further reasons why this House will want to give the most careful scrutiny to Part 4 of the Bill on Report in October. I beg to move.

Lord Woolf: My Lords, I have added my name in support of the amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, has advanced so elegantly. It is perhaps appropriate that it should be considered this afternoon because it will be recalled that this morning I was gently—but I do not think appropriately—chided by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, for going

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too far in my comments about legal aid provision with regard to judicial review and the effect of the action being taken in that respect. I respectfully suggest that what we have just heard indicates that there is real reason to be concerned at the reduction of legal aid in respect of judicial review. The points made by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, with regard to the shortcomings of regulations being used in respect of this area of legislation are very well founded.

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton: My Lords, I speak in support of all the amendments in this group, and in particular Amendments 82 and 85 in the name of my noble friend Lord Pannick. I must say that he has put down some very sensible amendments, which spoke to me—so much so that I decided to change my holiday plans and be here on the last day.

The issue of legal aid is inherently linked to the provisions in Part 4. It is part of a package of reforms that seem to have a very strong common thread—they make it so much harder to challenge public bodies when they act unlawfully. That right to challenge belongs to every citizen, whatever their background or means, but without legal advice and representation it is a truly empty right. That is particularly true of those at the margins of society who may be most affected when public authorities get it wrong—and sometimes they get it very wrong. I am particularly familiar with that territory due to my long career in social care and disability public services.

The legal aid reforms, which restrict its availability for judicial review, are one of the most damaging elements of this package. Coupled with the proposals on the costs of interventions and costs capping, they make it nigh impossible for the vulnerable to bring a claim. I supported my noble friend Lord Pannick in his Motion of Regret on the regulations that came into effect in April—not only for what they said but for the way in which they were introduced. The Joint Committee on Human Rights was highly critical of that. In their response this month, the Government say that legal aid for judicial review does not require a higher level of scrutiny. Honestly, that shows a remarkable lack of understanding of why judicial review is so important to the rule of law and why legal aid is so crucial to its effectiveness. Two weeks, ago the High Court ruled that the Government’s proposals for a residence test for legal aid were unlawful. We all remember that one. The Secretary of State had exceeded his powers and the test was discriminatory. The judgment confirms that the Government have been pushing the boundaries of what Parliament intended.

The Government’s approach to legal aid and their view of its importance to judicial review is deeply disturbing. However much the Lord Chancellor may disapprove, those who campaign for justice are entitled to legal aid to challenge the Government—or any other public body—when they get it wrong. Campaigning is in my DNA, which is why I support these amendments. I am a campaigner; not a left-wing, right-wing, or middle-wing campaigner. I am just a campaigner, who has been involved in judicial review to make society and our communities bigger, wiser and more effective. Again, that is why I support these amendments.

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4.30 pm

Baroness Lister of Burtersett: My Lords, it is always a privilege to follow the noble Baroness, the campaigner on such matters. I support everything that the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, has said, but I want to focus on Amendment 82A to draw attention to an issue that arose at the Joint Committee on Human Rights which, unusually, has done two reports on the legal aid changes. The second of these looks particularly at the impact of the residence test on children. The Government responded to our first report by making some concessions, which we welcomed, with regard to Sections 17 and 20 of the Children Act 1989. However, concerns were then raised with us that, although this was welcome, so far as it went, it did not go far enough because it does not exclude from the residence test all legal remedies, including judicial review. I remind noble Lords that we are talking about cases relating to children in need: the additional care needs of a disabled child; support needs for homeless families; and unaccompanied children who are homeless and need appropriate accommodation, support, care and supervision.

Anita Hurrell of Coram Children’s Legal Centre, gave us an example of what this would mean. She said:

“I would just highlight the situation faced by a child advised that they have a meritorious claim and with a solicitor telling them that they could pursue that claim and could need an immediate remedy such as some kind of injunction if the situation that they are living in is very desperate. That same solicitor is going to be advising the child that they cannot help them pursue that claim. They are in effect going to be saying to the child, ‘You can go to the High Court but you can go there on your own’ … It is going to be impossible for children to understand that they have this right but that it cannot be enforced”.

It would be difficult for most people to understand why that would be the case.

In its conclusions, the committee said:

“We are confused as to why the Government excluded certain child protection cases from having to satisfy the residence test, but did not exclude from the test all legal remedies including judicial review. Whilst welcoming the funding of legal advice, we do not understand the justification that it is a good use of public money to give funding for advice that cannot be taken through to a judicial review”.

Will the Minister comment on the point about what could be a misuse of public money?

The committee continued:

“We are concerned that children could be provided legal advice on Section 17 and 20 Children Act 1989 cases, only to find that their same solicitor will at some point no longer be able to help pursue a meritorious claim”.

It went on:

“We acknowledge the Government’s argument that they would prefer that people do not have to make an application for judicial review”.

That is quite understood. The committee continued:

“However, we believe that it is inevitable that judicial review will be a necessary remedy in certain cases. We are concerned that, if the residence test applies, there will no longer be the risk of a judicial review when a local authority fails a child in its care. This deterrent effect of a judicial review encourages local authorities to discharge their duties properly. Such cases requiring judicial review are of a serious nature and children should retain legal support”.

I find it very difficult to believe that anyone could disagree with that.

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Lord Cormack: My Lords, I spoke earlier this year—I think it was in May—in the debate on the Motion proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. The arguments were overwhelming and there was nobody, other than the poor, beleaguered Minister, who defended. I am moved to get to my feet again because, once more, we have heard a very calm, analytical speech from the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, with some fairly devastating quotations. We have heard a moving speech from the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Surbiton. She says she is not a left-wing campaigner and she clearly is not. She says she is not a right-wing campaigner and she clearly is not. However, an inspiring campaigner she clearly is. She has given up her day today and we know that that taxes her resources very considerably. She has been here throughout the day and she has spoken, as she always does, forcefully—and on one occasion with some peculiar accompanying sound effects over which she had no immediate control, but she made light of that as she always does, as she also has a very good sense of humour.

The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, talked about public money. Of course she is right to focus on that because we are talking about public money, but what is public money? It is the taxpayers’ money, and many of those who need to benefit from our legal system are taxpayers. It is incumbent upon every Government to ensure the defence of the realm and the policing of our streets—one could go on and on—but this country is nothing if it is not a country which is wholly honouring the rule of law. In order for all our citizens—all Her Majesty’s subjects—to benefit from the rule of law, the right and proper sums must be spent on ensuring that we have the proper rule of law.

The noble Baroness talked about children. We have a particular and, indeed, one could argue, overriding responsibility for those who are least able to look after their own interests. That really is at the root of this afternoon’s brief debate on this amendment. Earlier, when he was replying with a great deal of sympathy as well as his normal aplomb, the Minister indicated that he and his ministerial colleagues want to consider what is said in Committee in this House and that he will come back on Report having reflected. He clearly needs to reflect on what has been said in this very brief debate. I hope he will, because I do not want to see Report punctuated by acrimonious Divisions, or even non-acrimonious Divisions, but I think we have to get it right, and at the moment we clearly have not.

I could go on, as I did briefly in the other debate, about my regret that the Lord Chancellor is no longer a lawyer, but we are, as they say, where we are. The Lord Chancellor is a highly intelligent man. I hope he is a man who will read what has been said today and in preceding debates in Committee, and that when he reads and listens to the arguments put with forensic skill, as I am sure they will be, by the Minister, he will agree that this measure needs very significant amendment.

Lord Beecham: My Lords, we have had many debates in the four years during which I have been privileged to be a Member of this House on the subject of legal aid. Three years on from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, we continue to see measure after measure in statute and secondary legislation

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continuing the steady erosion of access to justice, exemplified in a similar context by the confirmation of a fall of 79% in the number of applications to employment tribunals following the introduction of substantial fees, and justified by the Justice Minister Mr Vara by the curious assertion that:

“It is not fair for the taxpayer to foot the entire £74m bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a tribunal, and it is not unreasonable to expect people who can afford to do so to make a contribution”.

It is notable that he apparently does not think it reasonable for employers in such cases, even those which are found to be liable, to make a contribution. It is an indication of the approach which the Government take to the issue of legal aid and access to justice.

As the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, reminded us, during the debates on the LASPO Bill, the Government said legal aid would continue to be available for judicial review, but that position, as he explained, has been substantially undermined. Legal aid is no longer to be available for the preliminary stage of applying for permission to seek judicial review, notwithstanding the tight timescales for making such applications after the making of the decision which evokes the application or the fact that often cases are settled with the respondent acting to correct the position before a hearing.

We now face an additional problem in that the Bill, if not amended, would require an applicant to prove a high likelihood of success at the permission stage—something that we discussed earlier today. That necessarily implies a great deal of preparatory work with absolutely no guarantee of funding—fine if you are a landowner, developer or commercial organisation challenging a decision, with the means to pay for such advice, but fatal if you do not have the wherewithal to pay for the necessary advice and support.

Perhaps the nastiest change the Government are pursuing is the introduction of a residence test for legal aid, which would apply to judicial review and to most other areas of law. This would apply to everybody over the age of 12 months who could not prove a period of continuous residence of at least 12 months in the UK at some point in their lifetime.

As my noble friend Lady Lister has reminded us, the Joint Committee on Human Rights was particularly, though by no means exclusively, concerned about the impact of this position on children, and concluded that it was in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, because it would prevent children having effective legal representation in cases that affect them. It noted that the Government had no information as to the number of children who might be affected, or the savings that would accrue as a result of imposing the test.

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee was also critical, not least in relation to the evidential requirements for a residence test, which is apparently to be carried out by the provider. The Ministry of Justice had not worked through all aspects of the policy, and the committee recommended that it should make a clear statement before the order—which was due to be subject to the affirmative procedure in your Lordships’ House recently, and itself became the subject of an application for judicial review—was considered. The committee concluded by noting that,

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“this exclusion is being pursued primarily as a matter of principle since the savings made cannot be quantified. It is a very sensitive matter and the House will wish to be absolutely clear on how the residence test will operate in practice”,

and recommended that the order, which was due to be debated two weeks ago, should not be debated until these items had been published.

In the event, as the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, has reminded us, the residence test for legal aid was ruled unlawful by the High Court, as it was adjudged that the provisions introduced a criterion—residence—that had nothing to do with what the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act provided as the criterion, which was need. The judgment applies to all areas in which legal aid might be required—including judicial review, which could, as my noble friend Lady Lister has reminded us, apply to children as it might to adults.

Sir Alan Moses referred—in unprecedented terms, I would have thought, for a senior judge to apply to any Minister, let alone a Lord Chancellor—to the comments made by the Lord Chancellor. He quoted Mr Grayling as saying in his article:

“Most right-minded people think it’s wrong that overseas nationals should ever have been able to use our legal aid fund anyway”.

Then he referred to a group of left-wing lawyers—which on this occasion did not include me—

Lord Cormack: Shame.

Lord Beecham: But I wish it had.

To this characteristic blast on the political dog whistle, Sir Alan responded with an extract from a 40-year-old judgement of Lord Scarman, who said,

“every person within the jurisdiction enjoys the equal protection of our laws. There is no distinction between British nationals and others. He who is subject to English law is entitled to its protection”.

That is a very clear statement of principle, which the proposal for the residence test, and the Bill’s proposals on judicial review in general, significantly threaten to undermine.

The Government, in their perennial search for votes—not from left-wing lawyers but from the right—are, of course, appealing. A less appealing prospect than this Government and this Lord Chancellor remaining in office and continuing to dismantle our system of justice is hard to imagine. I hope that the Government will listen to the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, and also listen, not necessarily to members of the Opposition but to the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, and the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, and all the others who are disturbed by the trend of policy in this area—and I hope that they will rethink, in particular, the provision relating to judicial review. Whatever happens—in the Supreme Court, I presume—about the question of the legality of the residence test, it plainly conflicts with Lord Scarman’s clear judgment, which we should all respect.

4.45 pm

Lord Faulks: My Lords, Amendments 82 and 85 concern legal aid for judicial review and seek to prevent the Government making changes to the eligibility or

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scope of legal aid for judicial review, including making changes to remuneration for providers. They also seek to annul any statutory instruments that have been made through the powers available under Sections 2 and 9 of the LASPO Act 2012 which have the effect of altering eligibility for, or the availability of, legal aid for judicial review. Amendment 85 would bring the new clause into force on the date of Royal Assent.

Your Lordships will already be aware that remuneration arrangements for civil legal aid cases have recently been amended in regulations made under Section 2 of LASPO, so that legal aid remuneration to providers for work on judicial review permission application is at risk. The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, suggested, perhaps inadvertently, that people would not be paid for the work building up to making the application. That is not quite right: you do get legal aid for that and, if your application is successful, you will get all the costs. The only part of the process that is at risk is the application process itself in that you will not be able to get legal aid for that, but you will recover the costs in due course if you are successful. I dealt with that in some detail in my response to the relevant debate. I could, if necessary, refer to the very lengthy speech I made on that occasion, but I hope that I can save the Committee the trouble of listening to that. It is a matter of record and so I will not do so at this juncture.

More generally, if the legal aid system is to command public confidence and credibility, limited legal aid resources should be properly targeted at those judicial review cases where they are needed most. This is why we introduced amendments to the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013 to limit the circumstances when legal aid providers should receive payment for work carried out on an application for permission. I should stress that the regulations made under Section 2 of LASPO do not affect the scope of civil legal aid for judicial review or the eligibility for legal aid in judicial review proceedings. Remuneration continues to be paid in the usual way for the earlier stages of a case, to investigate the prospects and strength of a claim and to engage in pre-action correspondence aimed at avoiding proceedings under the pre-action protocol. Indeed, the pre-action protocol will very often result in the matter being resolved without the need to go on to seek permission at all.

The amendments appear intended to stop the Government having the ability to make changes to civil legal aid scope and remuneration for judicial review except via primary legislation. The form of legislation and level of parliamentary scrutiny to which provisions in relation to the remuneration of providers and scope of civil legal aid are subject were considered only recently by Parliament during the passage of LASPO, and we continue to believe that they are appropriate. We have no current plans to alter the scope of legal aid for judicial review. However, the power to make any such changes in the future, including in respect of potential expansion, should not be unnecessarily constrained as proposed. I recall an amendment, to which I think I was a party, which sought to enable the LASPO Bill to contain a power

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not only to delete but also to add provisions in relation to the availability of legal aid if the situation were to improve.

Making such changes by primary legislation would be a cumbersome process and a disproportionate use of the House’s time, particularly for a minor or technical change. It would stop the Government of the day making necessary but minor changes without primary legislation, even where these were necessary to ensure that the provision remained up to date. Further, there is no basis on which to distinguish judicial review from other, equally important, matters for which civil legal aid is available by necessitating primary legislation for such amendments. Although I do not deny for a moment that judicial review is of great constitutional importance, so for many individuals are their own cases involving significant, as they would no doubt say, violations of their rights, civil rights of one sort or another, or their right to recover damages. In the light of what I have said, I would respectfully ask the noble Lord not to press those amendments.

I now turn to Amendment 82A, which seeks to prevent a residence test being applied to any proceedings for judicial review. Noble Lords are aware that the proposed residence test was recently challenged by way of judicial review. The High Court handed down judgment on 15 July and found in favour of the claimant. We are appealing the judgment and are currently considering the next steps that will be taken. I think it will go to the Court of Appeal first and then perhaps on to the Supreme Court. I hope, therefore, that noble Lords will understand that it is not appropriate for me to comment in great detail on that, in view of the ongoing proceedings.

Of course, the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, drew attention to the observations that the Secretary of State was alleged to have made, and probably did make, according to the Daily Telegraph

Lord Pannick: It was not that he was alleged to have made them. He wrote an article in his own name in the Telegraph.

Lord Faulks: My legal caution found me using the expression “alleged”.

Lord Beecham: Perhaps the noble Lord will pass the legal caution on to the Lord Chancellor.

Lord Faulks: I am grateful for that contribution.

The Lord Chancellor made in the Daily Telegraphvarious comments which resulted in what was described—not alleged to have been described—as a “kick in the shins” by Lord Justice Moses. All I can say is that, during the time I have been standing at the Dispatch Box, the Lord Chancellor’s shins have been extremely bruised by the number of comments that have been adverse to him personally, to his responsibility to the office or to his disregard for the rule of law. I am sure that he is painfully aware of the harm that has been done to him by the observations that have been made. It is a matter for your Lordships whether you think that is appropriate.

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I should also say this. Of course, the withdrawal of legal aid in any context is not something that any Government relish, but throughout the period—and we are now coming to the end of this Parliament—the party opposite has opposed all cuts to legal aid, whether they are civil legal aid cuts or criminal legal aid cuts. They have advanced very skilfully all sorts of arguments about the outrage that has followed. It is time for some clarity to emerge from the party opposite as to whether it will in fact restore legal aid to all these areas where it is said that it has been wrongly withdrawn or whether this is to some extent posturing on their part.

The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, referred to the difficulties that she described of children in particular in relation to the residence test. Although, as I say, I am not going to go into great detail because it is all to be considered by the court—at least in terms of the vires of the residence test—the Government’s position is that they do not believe that the JCHR should have concluded what it concluded in that respect. The committee appears to have proceeded on the basis that a child needs a lawyer in all cases to represent them and to ensure that their views are taken into account. There have always been cases where the child speaks for himself directly or where a parent or guardian ensures that the views of the child are properly taken into account. The Government are not aware of any evidence before the committee that indicated in such cases the child is not able to express views and participate appropriately in legal proceedings.

Following the ruling of the court in the residence test case, noble Lords will be aware that the draft order introducing the residence test was withdrawn. The amendment before the Committee now would therefore introduce an exception to the residence test in the abstract. I would respectfully suggest that the appropriate place to consider any exceptions would be while considering the residence test as a whole, rather than in isolation and in the context of a free-standing provision for judicial review. Nevertheless—there should be no mystery about this—I should make it clear that we do not agree that an exception should be made to the residence test for all judicial review proceedings. The test reflects our view that individuals should have a strong connection to the United Kingdom in order to benefit from the civil legal aid scheme. In line with those principles, we therefore decided that, in general, applications for legal aid for judicial review proceedings should be subject to the same test.

The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, referred to certain “concessions”, as she described them. What happened was that, following careful consideration, we proposed certain limited and focused exceptions for judicial review cases that relate to an individual’s liberty, and for certain immigration and asylum judicial reviews. I am glad that she called them concessions; she previously described the Government’s position as a “climb-down”, which is perhaps not a kind way in which to describe the approach that the Government try to take on difficult decisions.

We believe that the residence test is by and large a fair test that should make sure that legal aid is targeted at those cases where it is justified. Moreover, it achieves

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the essential policy aim of targeting legal aid at those with a strong connection to the United Kingdom. I therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Pannick: I am grateful to the Minister. I would be happy to provide him with a copy of Mr Grayling’s interesting article in the Telegraph of 20 April 2014. It is, as I said, written by him. He is not responsible for the headline but it gives a flavour of what he wrote. It states:

“We must stop the legal aid abusers tarnishing Britain’s justice system”.

There is no doubt whatever that, as with anything in life, abuse is possible. However, I take the view that the remedies that the Lord Chancellor is seeking to implement through Part 4 of the Bill are far worse than any disease that the Lord Chancellor has diagnosed. It is that article, with its reference to,

“Another group of Left-wing lawyers”,

taking the Government to court that provoked the response—a very appropriate response—from the High Court that it is the role of the court to decide not who is bringing the claim but whether the claim has merit and substance, and whether the proposals are a breach of the rule of law.

I hope that the Minister, who well understands these points, will be able to convey to the Lord Chancellor the belief of many of us in this House and outside that it would be far better if he would concentrate on the question of substance, of legality, rather than the political characteristics, if any, of the persons who are bringing the complaint. They go to court not to make political points but to make legal points. If they did not do so, the court would immediately tell them that it would not listen to them,

As to the amendments, my objection remains to the use of secondary legislation to make fundamental changes to the availability of legal aid for judicial review. There is no doubt that to restrict legal aid for a permission hearing in circumstances in which leave is not granted—it is often not granted because the defendant has given way and recognised the defect—is a fundamental change in the availability of legal aid. It will make it, and is making it, much more difficult for people to bring well founded claims. The same is true of the residence requirements that the High Court has held to be unlawful.

I am not therefore persuaded by the Minister’s observations, eloquently though they were presented, and unless the Government are prepared to look again at these matters, the House will need to return to these issues on Report in October. For today, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 82 withdrawn.

5 pm

Amendments 82A to 82D not moved.

Clause 71 agreed.

Schedule 11 agreed.

Clause 72 agreed.

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Clause 73: Power to make consequential and supplementary provision etc

Amendment 83

Moved by Lord Woolf

83: Clause 73, page 71, line 29, leave out “supplementary,”

Lord Woolf: I hope to be very brief in my submission in support of the amendments which relate to the consequential and supplementary provisions in Part 5 of the Bill, which is headed, “Final Provisions”. Clause 73(1) states:

“The Lord Chancellor or the Secretary of State may by regulations make consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional, transitory or saving provision in relation to any provision of this Act”.

Subsection (2) states:

“The regulations may, in particular, amend, repeal or revoke legislation”.

I am not quite sure of the distinction between “revoke” and “repeal” and would be glad to hear about it and be educated as to the difference. I suggest that subsections (1) and (2) are very wide indeed. The regulations will be made by statutory instrument, and subsection (5) states:

“A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section that amend or repeal”—

it does not mention revoke—

“a provision of an Act (whether alone or with other provision) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament”.

So it is true that the consequential provisions have regulations that require approval. Despite that, I suggest that the powers in Clause 73 are too wide. The amendment to delete “supplementary”—and deleting appeal or revoke—is desirable. I would prefer to see the whole power removed, especially in an area that is as important as the provisions covered by the Bill. Noble Lords will be only too well aware of the provisions contained in each part of the Bill, so there is no need for me to recite them again. They all contain very important issues that I suggest deserve to be dealt with by primary legislation rather than delegated legislation of the sort referred to in Clause 73.

The position with regard to Part 4 is particularly acute. Already this afternoon we have heard submissions with regard to the other Henry VIII clauses that are contained in Part 4. In my view those submissions are equally applicable to Part 5. I beg to move.

Lord Deben (Con): My Lords, as the House may be aware, I am always unhappy if we have debates that become either a military-fest or a legal-fest—in other words, that the only people who discuss these things are lawyers. I suggest to my noble friend that we have already had sufficient evidence in Committee that there are in the Bill very serious matters over which the House has had very considerable disagreement. I suspect that he knows that Report stage will not be easy on a number of these issues, which reach way beyond party and which are about the nature of civil liberties and this country’s legal system. Therefore, I look at this particular proposal with a considerably jaundiced eye.

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I want to say something that he may find inconvenient. There was a time when the Lord Chancellor was very manifestly not a political figure. Yes, he was appointed by the Government and he sat in the Cabinet, but he was seen very clearly as a legal figure. For reasons that I wholly disagree with and are all about a mistaken understanding of these things under the previous Government—this is not a criticism of him or present company—we now have a different situation.

Parts of the article read by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, point to the position where the Lord Chancellor feels he is able to make statements that can be seen only in a context that is very strongly political. That means that the natural willingness of this House to accord to the Lord Chancellor a different kind of approach from that which one would to the Secretary of State for this or the Secretary of State for that is very much diminished.

Having debated this Bill in such detail and having shown so many moments when noble Lords of very different political views felt unhappy, we then come to this catch-all clause. My noble friend may explain that it does not really mean what it seems to mean. In that case, can we please write it so that it does seem to mean what it ought to mean? But if it does mean what it seems to mean, the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State can—depending on what the situation is—make changes subject to the most exiguous parliamentary control.

Having been a Secretary of State, I know very well that once you get a properly worded document and present it in accordance with the rules, it is quite difficult for it not to pass—let me put it as delicately as that. That same element is in this. I thought the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, was more than polite when he reminded us that there was this “saving” bit, because it does not seem to me to be a “saving” bit at all—that it not what happens. Given the mechanisms of the two Houses, if such supplementary legislation is put properly and is not wrong, it will, in normal circumstances, pass.

If my noble friend cannot give the House the assurance that the wording means something wholly different from what it appears to mean, most of us would prefer not to have it at all. We would therefore want to support the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, in his contention, if not now then on another occasion.

Lord Pannick: My Lords, I added my name to the amendment in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf. I entirely agree with the observations made by the noble Lord, Lord Deben. My concern is that the power the Lord Chancellor has under Clause 73(1) extends not only to “consequential” provisions, which is understandable, or to “incidental”, “transitional” and “transitory” provisions—again, entirely understandable —but to anything that is supplementary. That is an extraordinarily broad power: a power to make supplementary provisions.

In other words, as I understand it, if the Lord Chancellor believes that anything falls within the scope of the general area or subject matter of the Bill, he may, by subordinate legislation, make provision to

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supplement that which Parliament has anxiously debated and may have amended and approved. Under Clause 73(2), this power extends to repealing and revoking legislation. That is a remarkable power. I can see no reason whatever why such a power should be enjoyed, far less in the context of the very sensitive and delicate issues addressed by the Bill—including, but not only, those in Part 4.

Lord Faulks: My Lords, when one gets to the final provisions in a Bill whose Committee stage has lasted for five days, one might think that the debate has come to an end. However, that is not so. It is hard to avoid the fact that the approach of a number of noble Lords is coloured by the nature of the debate on the clauses that come before those final provisions. In particular, there is the sense, expressed by a number of noble Lords, that this particular Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor does not have sufficient regard for the rule of law and, essentially, there is a lack of confidence that he will exercise his powers in a way that Parliament would find satisfactory.

I do not think it is appropriate for me to provide a personal defence. Here, we are looking at a pretty commonplace provision contained in Clause 73. I say that it is commonplace because noble Lords might like to know that Section 149 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 contains a provision that says:

“The Lord Chancellor or the Secretary of State may by regulations make consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional, transitory or saving provision in relation to any provision of this Act”.

That is identical to the power in Clause 73. Section 53 of the Pensions Act 2014, under the heading “Power to make consequential amendments etc”, says:

“The Secretary of State or the Treasury may by order make consequential, incidental or supplementary provision in connection with any provision made by this Act”.

Section 20 of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, under the heading “Consequential and supplementary provision etc.”, says:

“The Secretary of State may by order make consequential, supplementary or incidental provision in relation to any provision of this Act”.

Therefore, this—in particular, the use of the word “supplementary”, which I understand those who have proposed these amendments have a particular difficulty with—is not unfamiliar territory.

It is something of an irony that at various stages in Committee I have been subjected to a large number of interventions by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, who is not currently in his place. During the debate on a previous group, he ventured an observation in relation to this provision, saying that it was wholly unexceptionable as compared with the terms of clauses elsewhere. Sadly, he is not here to expand upon his views; nevertheless, I draw some comfort from the fact that they had come from an otherwise harsh critic of this legislation.

Despite every effort, it is not always possible to identify every necessary amendment to primary legislation, and it would not usually be appropriate to include amendments to existing secondary legislation in primary legislation. As noble Lords—many highly experienced,

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and more experienced than I am, in parliamentary procedure—will know, it is usual practice for a suitable power to be included in a Bill to ensure that its provisions can be brought into force. Amendment 83 would amend the power in Clause 73 to make such provisions by removing the Secretary of State’s power to make supplementary provision.

Noble Lords are concerned about the breadth of this power. The power to make supplementary provision was included in this clause in recognition of the complexity of the legislative framework within which sit some provisions of the Bill, particularly those relating to sentencing and the new single justice procedure. The consequence of not being able to make supplementary provision could be to inhibit the proper operation of aspects of the Bill. In relation to sentence calculation, this could even be to the detriment of an individual. The drafting, as I have indicated, is similar to that approved in similar legislation.

5.15 pm

Lord Pannick: Is the Minister really saying that such examples would not fall within the concepts of “consequential”, “incidental”, “transitional” and “transitory”?

Lord Faulks: I am not saying that they would not. This form of words is sufficiently wide, including the various adjectives that it does, to cover a variety of situations, and if one particular adjective does not serve, another will serve. There will be an overlap between the two. I do not accept that the word “supplementary” is as offensive as has been suggested.

Lord Deben: My noble friend, rightly, points to the fact that similar, or the same, wording has been used in other Acts. Surely that does not mean that it was right to use it in those Acts. Here is an opportunity for the Government to take seriously the real concerns of people about the way in which this House and the other place control the legislation that goes through them. We have a system that is not very elegant. Therefore, unless there is something about the word “supplementary” that is different and is necessary, it might be better not to have it. If all those other things cover all the points that the noble Lord raised, then “supplementary” is otiose. If it means something more than that, then I would like to know what “supplementary” would cover that none of the other words would. If we knew that, we might well be willing to help the Government by supporting them. If we do not know that, we have a reason to say that perhaps it is better not to have it.

Lord Faulks: As a lawyer, I have a particular regard for precedent. The fact that the word “supplementary” has found its way into other Acts of Parliament is at least some indication that previous Parliaments have approved its inclusion. The fact remains that any provision is worthy of analysis, whether it has been in a previous Act of Parliament or not. None the less, I am sure that the noble Lord would agree that it is important that we give, quite properly, the degree of power necessary to the Secretary of State to implement

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those parts of the Bill that become law. I can reassure him and the House that such powers are narrowly construed by the courts and are available only for the purposes of implementing what is in the Bill, not what is further to the Bill, not in the Bill or what the Secretary of State might like to have been in the Bill.

Amendment 84 proposes to remove Clause 73(2). This would prevent any provision necessary to give full effect to the Bill being made if it required amendments to any existing legislation, whether primary or secondary. Similarly, with the powers subject to Amendment 83, provisions permitting amendment to primary and secondary legislation for these purposes are commonly found and have been approved, and we are concerned that their absence would hamper the Government’s ability to bring the Bill into force.

Of course I accept that it is right that these provisions should be subject to proper scrutiny. That is why we have provided, in accordance with the expectations of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, that all provisions made under this clause will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. Where provisions amend primary legislation, any regulations will be subject to the affirmative procedure. With that reassurance, I hope that I can allay to some extent any residual anxiety that the House may have.

These provisions are not novel and we say that they are necessary to implement the provisions of the Bill properly. During the Recess, among the many other things that I have been invited to reflect on, I will reflect on the precise use of the adjective “supplementary” in this context. At the moment, I do not give any indication of a desire to amend it, but I will of course reflect on it. In the mean time, with the reassurance that I have endeavoured to give the House, I hope that the noble and learned Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Woolf: I am grateful to the Minister for responding with such care and elegance to the speeches that have been made. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Davies, was not present as I am sure that he would have taken great pleasure from hearing how the Minister was comforted by what he said in his speech. I heard that speech and reacted with surprise at the time.

In his response, the noble Lord said that it was of course right for him, as a lawyer, to rely on precedent. I wonder whether the precedent in this context indicates the dangers of a Henry VIII clause of this nature. What happens in practice is that, once you have a precedent, you think that until somebody protests you can go on making better and better precedents to achieve your purpose, meaning that the powers of this House to scrutinise legislation are thwarted—not totally but to a significant degree. It is because of what has happened in the past that Henry VIII clause after Henry VIII clause appears in legislation, so that now it is considered almost a matter of course to put in a provision of this nature, and it is suggested that legislation cannot work without a Henry VIII clause. I respectfully suggest that that is a most unfortunate situation, and I have a great deal of sympathy for the helpful remarks that were made by the noble Lord, Lord Deben, in his very wise comments on this clause.

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I suggest that the time the Minister spends contemplating the language of Clause 73 during the coming three months will be very well spent. Bearing that in mind, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment, but I do so while making it clear that I may well come back to the subject on Report.

Amendment 83 withdrawn.

Amendment 84 not moved.

Clause 73 agreed.

Clause 74 agreed.

Clause 75: Commencement

Amendments 84A and 84B

Moved by Lord Faulks

84A: Clause 75, page 72, line 11, leave out “subsection (2)” and insert “subsections (1A) and (2)”

84B: Clause 75, page 72, line 11, at end insert—

“(1A) Section (Low-value shoplifting: mode of trial) comes into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.”

Amendments 84A and 84B agreed.

Amendment 85 not moved.

Clause 75, as amended, agreed.

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Clause 76: Extent

Amendments 86 and 87

Moved by Lord Faulks

86: Clause 76, page 72, line 23, leave out subsection (2)

87: Clause 76, page 72, line 35, at end insert “and sections (Rules against inducements to make personal injury claims) to (Inducements: regulations)”

Amendments 86 and 87 agreed.

Clause 76, as amended, agreed.

Clauses 77 and 78 agreed.

In the Title

Amendment 88

Moved by Lord Faulks

88:In the Title, line 5, after “drivers;” insert “to amend the offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming;”

Amendment 88 agreed.

Title, as amended, agreed.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

House adjourned at 5.25 pm.