HL Deb 27 June 1978 vol 394 cc283-6

[No. 65.]

Schedule 5, page 112, line 42, leave out from beginning to end of line 34 on page 113 and insert—

'In section 1 for subsection (3) substitute— (3) Without prejudice to subsection (2), the Lord Chancellor may by order apply this Act, with such modifications as the circumstances may require, to any judgment or award of any court or tribunal given or made or having effect or capable of being made effective in Northern Ireland. (4) An order under subsection (3) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament in like manner as a statutory instrument and section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 shall apply accordingly.".

For section 3 substitute—

The Enforcement of Judgments Office.

3.—(1) The Lord Chancellor shall maintain within the Northern Ireland Court Service an office to be called the Enforcement of Judgments Office (in this Act referred to as 'the Office') by or through which, subject to the provisions of this Act, all judgments to which this Act applies shall be enforced.

(2) The functions of the Office shall, subject to and in accordance with rules and with directions given by the Lord Chancellor, be exercisable by—

  1. (a) the Master;
  2. (b) a Judicial Officer; and
  3. (c) the Chief Enforcement Officer or any other member of the Northern Ireland Court Service.

(3) In this section and in the following provisions of this Act—

  1. (a) 'the Master' and 'Judicial Officer mean, respectively, the Master (Enforcement of Judgments) and a Judicial Officer (Enforcement of Judgments) appointed under section 70 of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978;
  2. (b) 'the Chief Enforcement Officer' means such officer of the Northern Ireland Court Service as the Lord Chancellor may designate for the purposes of this Act".

In section 12 for the words "be deemed to be court records" substitute the words "be preserved in such manner and for such period as the Lord Chancellor may direct".

In sections 14(1)(b), 22, 23, 24, 25, 29 and 95 for the words "a designated officer" wherever they occur substitute the words "the Office".

In sections 19(1), 22(a), 26(1), 34(b), 40, 97 and 108(2) for the word "regulations" wherever it occurs substitute the word "rules".

In section 40(3) for the words "fees in accordance with a schedule of fees" substitute the word "charges".

In section 105 at the beginning of paragraph (c) insert the words "except as provided by rules".

In section 116(2) for the words "a judge of the High Court" substitute the words "the Court of Appeal".

For section 117 substitute—

"Judgment Enforcement Rules.

117.—(1) The Lord Chancellor may make rules, to be known as 'Judgment Enforcement Rules', for the purpose of regulating the exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on the Office by this Act or on the Master by the Payments for Debt (Emergency Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 and generally for carrying both Acts into effect.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) Judgment Enforcement Rules may—

  1. (a) provide for regulating and prescribing the procedure and practice to be followed in proceedings before the Office, including the manner in which, the time within which and the conditions on which any proceedings may or are to be taken;
  2. (b) provide for regulating any matters relating to the costs of proceedings before the Office;
  3. (c) make provisions as to proceedings by the Crown;
  4. (d) prescribe or fix anything which under this Act may or is to be so prescribed or fixed;
  5. (e) amend or repeal any statutory provision passed before the commencement of this Act so far as may be necessary or expedient in consequence of provisions made by the rules.

(3) Judgment Enforcement Rules shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament in like manner as a statutory instrument and section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 shall apply accordingly.

(4) Judgment Enforcement Rules which may involve an increase in expenditure out of public funds shall not be made except with the concurrence of the Treasury; but the validity of any rules so made shall not, in any proceedings in any court or in the Office, be called in question either by the court, the Office or any party to the proceedings on the ground only that the Treasury did not concur or are not expressed to have concurred in the making of the rule.".'

For section 120 substitute—

"Financial provision.

120. All expenses of and incidental to the operation of this Act shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by the Parliament of the United Kingdom,".'

In section 128(1) for the words "and any rules of court, rules or regulations made thereunder" substitute the words ", rules made thereunder and rules of court".

In section 129(1)—

  1. (a) in the definition of "enforcement officer" for the words from "senior" to the end substitute the words "other officers of the Northern Ireland Court Service designated by the Lord Chancellor for the purposes of this Act;
  2. (b) in the definition of "the Master" for the words "section 5(2)" substitute the words "section 3(3)(a)";
  3. (c) in the definition of "rules" for the words from "rules made" to the end substitute the words "Judgment Enforcement Rules made under section 117".

In Part II of Schedule 4 in the amendment to the Irish Bankrupt and Insolvent Act 1857 for the word "regulations" substitute the word "rules".'


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 65. I shall speak also to Amendment No. 90.

This pair of Amendments represents the completion of the process, which has been largely carried out in your Lordships' House, of transferring responsibility for the administration of justice in Northern Ireland from the Secretary of State to the Lord Chancellor. The Enforcement of Judgments Office was the one part of the court system in Northern Ireland with which there was no time to deal before the Bill left this House.

These lengthy Amendments, Nos. 65 and 90, deal with the control and finances of the Enforcement of Judgments Office. The effect of these Amendments is to replace the provisions concerned by much simpler ones, putting the Enforcement of Judgments Office on the same footing as other parts of the Court Service. The new Section 3(1) also provides in the interests of flexibility for the Lord Chancellor to provide by rules how the functions of the Office are to be allocated.

I hope to be able to set up consultative arrangements in Northern Ireland which will ensure that the. point of view of users is always fully taken into account. I have reason to believe that the Bill's aims are very acceptable to those in Northern Ireland who are interested in the Office, and I commend it to the House.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Lord Chancellor.)