§ 51 Before Clause 36, insert the following new clause:
§ Transfer of remand hearings
§ ".—(1) A magistrates' court adjourning a case under—
- (a) section 6 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1952 (committal proceedings), or
- (b) section 14(1) of that Act (trial of information), or
- (c) section 19(4) above,
§ (2) The order shall require the accused to be brought before the alternate court at the end of the period of remand or at such earlier time as the alternate court may require.
§ (3) While the order is in force, the alternate court shall, to the exclusion of the court which made the order, have all the powers in relation to further remand (whether in custody or on bail) and the grant of legal aid which that court would have had but for the order.
§ (4) The alternate court may, on remanding the accused in custody, require him to to be brought before the court which made the order at the end of the period of remand or at such earlier time as that court may require; and, if the alternate court does so, or the accused is released on bail, the order under subsection (1) above shall cease to be in force.
§ (5) Schedule (Transfer of remand hearings) to this Act shall have effect to supplement this section."
§ 52 Insert the following new clause:
§ Remand of accused aready in custody
§ ".—(1) When a magistrates' court remands an accused person in custody and he is already detained under a custodial sentence, the period for which he is remanded may be up to 28 clear days.
§ (2) But the court shall enquire as to the expected date of his release from that detention; and if it appears that it will be before 28 clear days have expired, he shall not be remanded in custody for more than 8 clear days or (if longer) a period ending with that date.
§ (3) So long as he is detained under a custodial sentence, an application for him to be further remanded in custody may be made and determined without his appearance in court, provided that he is represented 458 by counsel or a solicitor who signifies the accused's consent to the application being heard in his absence".
§ Lord HARRIS of GREENWICH
My Lords, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 51 and 52 which, with the consent of the House. I should like to move together. At the same time I should like to speak to Amendment No. 121. These Amendments are related because they all concern difficulties which can arise from the requirement that a person who was remanded in custody before trial must be brought back before a magistrates' court within eight days.
Amendments Nos. 51 and 121 have been brought forward with the object of avoiding the lengthy journeys from prison to court for what are often routine remand hearings, in cases where both the prosecution and defence are not yet in a position to proceed. This is achieved by empowering a magistrates' court which is adjourning a case and remanding the accused in custody, to order that, for any subsequent remands, he is to be brought up before a magistrates' court nearer to the prison where he will be kept in custody which, in the Amendments we refer to as "the alternate magistrates' court". The order will transfer to the alternate court all the powers relating to further remands, including the power to grant bail and legal aid. But the alternate court will have no power to deal with the substance of the charge, that is, it will not be able to try him or to hold committal proceedings and so on. It is given jurisdiction for a very limited purpose and as soon as the prosecution and defence are ready to proceed with the substance of the matter, they will inform the alternate court which, at the next remand hearing will remand the accused back to the first court. We believe that these provisions will afford some significant relief to the prisons and to the police; and accordingly, I commend the Amendments to the House.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendments. —(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.