- '.—(1) Section 51 of the 1995 Act (remand or committal of children and young persons) shall be amended in accordance with this section.
- (2) In subsection (1)—
- (a) in paragraph (a), for the words "in whose area the court is situated" there shall be substituted the words "which it considers appropriate";
- (b) after paragraph (a) there shall be inserted the following paragraph—
- "(aa) if the person is over 16 years of age and subject to a supervision requirement, the court may, instead of committing him to prison, commit him to the local authority which it considers appropriate to be detained as mentioned in sub-paragraphs (i) or (ii) of paragraph (a) above;" and
- (c) in paragraph (b), after the "age", where it first occurs, there shall be inserted the words "to whom paragraph (aa) above does not apply".
- (3) In subsection (4), for the words "in whose area the court is situated" there shall be substituted the words "which he considers appropriate".
- (4) After subsection (4) there shall be inserted the following subsection—
(4A) The local authority which may be appropriate in relation to a power to commit a person under paragraphs (a) or (aa) of subsection (1) or subsection (4) above may. without prejudice to the generality of those powers, be—
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
New clause 5 is similar to an Opposition amendment tabled in Committee concerning the committal of a child to local authority care. At that time, I expressed sympathy with the purpose of the amendment, but suggested that it unnecessarily fettered the discretion of the court in making a disposal to the most appropriate local authority. On that basis, I undertook to table a Government amendment on Report. Amendment No. 99 is a technical one.
§ Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)
I am always brief, Madam Speaker. 624 [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Well, I try to be brief. I shall be very brief today. How does the Minister define an "appropriate local authority"?
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
That depends on a number of factors. It may be the local authority in which the child is living, or in which the child is being looked after, but it is not necessarily the authority where the child's permanent residence has been. The new clause would allow the court—in dealing with cases where a young person under 16 years of age is charged with or is convicted of an offence and remanded for trial or for sentence—to commit that young person to a local authority that it considers appropriate. Such a local authority could be the authority in which the court is situated, the authority in which the young person is usually resident or the authority that is already responsible for the young person where he is subject to a supervision requirement.
The amendment replaces the current obligation on the court to commit to the local authority in which it is situated. It gives the court greater flexibility and discretion, which is I am sure what the hon. Gentleman would like and was the tenor of the representations made in Committee.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.