HC Deb 20 October 1972 vol 843 cc726-7

Lords Amendment: No. 26, in page 34, line 47, at end insert— (3) With prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this section, there shall be inserted at the beginning of Part IV of the Criminal Appeal (Northern Ireland) Act 1968, as a new section 48A, the section set out in Schedule (Section to be inserted in the Criminal Appeal (Northern Ireland) Act 1968) to this Act (being a provision corresponding to section 30 of this Act).

Mr. Carlisle

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

With this we are to discuss Lords Amendment No. 37, in page 40, line 23, at end insert new Schedule C— "Reference to Court of Criminal Appeal of point of law following acquittal on indictment."

Mr. Carlisle

The effect of the Amendment is to provide in the law of Northern Ireland for reference to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Northern Ireland on a point of law following the acquittal of a person tried on indictment. The general effect will be that the situation in Northern Ireland will be the same as that resulting from Clause 30.

Mr. S. C. Silkin

I have a question on the general policy of including in United Kingdom Bills amendments to Northern Ireland Acts. Recently, we passed the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act, enabling this to be done by Statutory Instrument. Apparently, here the Government have chosen to do it by including amending provisions within a Bill which otherwise applies to the United Kingdom apart from Northern Ireland. Is it intended that in future we may expect Northern Ireland legislation to be amended through the medium of a Bill that otherwise has nothing to do with Northern Ireland?

I ask because Northern Ireland legislation is naturally of interest to Northern Ireland Members who, to judge by their absence today, have no idea that Northern Ireland law is being amended in this way. If this is to be future policy, they should know and should have the opportunity to scrutinise any legislation to find out whether there is some amendment of Northern Ireland law—until such time as the Temporary Provisions Act expires.

Mr. Carlisle

Whereas it is right that this change in the substantive law of Northern Ireland could have been made by Order in Council, it was felt that as the Bill extends to Northern Ireland for other purposes it was a matter of convenience to make the change by means of an Amendment to the Bill. It in no way means that matters will always be dealt with in this way.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendment agreed to.

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