HC Deb 21 October 1982 vol 29 cc558-9


Lords amendment: No. 44, after the words last inserted, insert: D. The following section shall be inserted after section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 'Legal representation (1) A court shall not make a care order under section 7(7) of this Act in respect of a child or young person who is not legally represented in that court unless either—

  1. (a)he applied for legal aid and the application was refused on the ground that it did not appear that his means were such that he required assistance; or
  2. (b)having been informed of his right to apply for legal aid and had the opportunity to do so, he refused or failed to apply.

(2) For the purposes of this section a person is to be treated as legally represented in a court if, but only if, he has the assistance of counsel or a solicitor to represent him in the proceedings in that court at some time after he is found guilty and before a care order is made, and in this section "legal aid" means legal aid for the purposes of proceedings in that court, whether the whole proceedings or the proceedings on or in relation to the making of the care order; but in the case of a person committed to the Crown Court sentence or trial, it is immaterial whether he applied for legal aid in the Crown Court to, or was informed of his right to apply by, that court or the court which committed him.'".
Mr. Mayhew

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

The Government were able to table this amendment on Report in the other place. It is almost identical with that which was tabled in Committee by the noble baroness Lady Faithfull.

The amendment improves the Bill. It ensures that a care order can generally not be made on a juvenile offender who is not legally represented before being sentenced in criminal proceedings. It is framed in the standard form set out in section 21 of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

The Minister did not say that the amendment was proposed on behalf of the parliamentary all-party penal affairs group in another place. I do not know why everyone should be in such a hurry to get through our business tonight.

Without the amendment we would have had the anomaly that no unrepresented young offender could be sent to a detention centre, even for as little as three weeks, whereas a juvenile could be sent to an institution under a care order for a year or even longer without being offered legal representation. The amendment is an important safeguard for the recipients of care orders in criminal proceedings. I welcome it.

Question put and agreed to.

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