§ 258 Page 125, line 36, at end insert:
§ (2) Subsection (1) is not to be taken as preventing those rights being varied or added to in accordance with the provisions of that Act.
§ (3) The Lord Chancellor may at any time direct, as respects one or more specified places where the Crown Court sits, that Crown Prosecutors, or such category of Crown Prosecutors as may be specified in the direction, may have rights of audience in the Crown Court.
§ (3A) Any such direction may be limited to apply only in relation to proceedings of a description specified in the direction.
§ (3B) In considering whether to exercise his powers under this section the Lord Chancellor shall have regard, in particular, to the need to secure the availability of persons with rights of audience in the court or proceedings in question.
§ (3C) Any direction under this section may be revoked by direction of the Lord Chancellor.
§ (3D) Any direction under this section may be subject to such conditions and restrictions as appear to the Lord Chancellor to be necessary or expedient.
§ (3E) Any exercise by the Lord Chancellor of his powers to give a direction under this section shall be with the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the President of the Family Division and the Vice-Chancellor.".
§ 30F.—(1) In section 14(1) (a) of that Act (regulations in relation to fees of counsel) for the word "counsel" there shall be substituted "any legal representative".
§ (2) The following definition shall be inserted in section 15(1) of that Act after the definition of "Director"—
§ 30G. In section 20(2) of that Act (regulations providing for the recovery of sums paid by the Legal Aid Board or out of central funds), in paragraph (a) for the words "party to proceedings" there shall be substituted "person".'.
§ (2) In subsection (1) (a)—
- (a) after the word "solicitors", where it first occurs, there shall be inserted "or solicitors and one or more registered foreign lawyers"; and
- (b) at the end there shall be inserted "or by multi-national partnerships".
§ (3) In subsection (8), the following definitions shall be inserted at the appropriate places— 1506 —"multi-national partnership" means a partnership whose members consist of one or more registered foreign lawyers and one or more solicitors;
§ 30I. In paragraph 10 of Schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985 (which extends the offence in section 42(1) of the Solicitors Act 1974 of seeking employment whilst struck off or suspended to employment by an incorporated practice) for the words "Section 42(1)" there shall be substituted "Section 42(1) and (1A)".
§ 30J. In paragraph 13 of Schedule 2 to that Act (incorporated practices)—
- (a) in sub-paragraph (1), for the words from "section" to "and (8))" there shall be substituted "Schedule 1A of the Act of 1974 (except paragraphs 5(1) and 9"; and
- (b) in sub-paragraph (2), for the words "section 44A(1) (a)" there shall be substituted "paragraph 2(1) (a) of Schedule 1A to the Act of 1974".
§ 30K. In Schedule 2 to that Act (incorporated practices), in paragraph 18 the following sub-paragraph shall be inserted after sub-paragraph (2)—
§ "(2A) Where, on the hearing of any application or complaint made to it under this Schedule, the Tribunal is satisfied that more than one allegation is proved against the recognised body to whom the application or complaint relates, it may impose a separate penalty (by virtue of sub-paragraph (2) (b)) with respect to each such allegation."
§ 30L. In Schedule 6 to that Act (incorporated licensed conveyancers) the following shall be substituted for paragraph 4(3)—
§ "(3) Where it appears to the Council that the professional services provided by a recognised body in connection with any matter in which that body has been instructed by a client have, in any respect, not been of the quality which it is reasonable to expect of that body, the Council may take any step with respect to that recognised body as it could take under paragraphs 14 to 20 of Schedule (Licensed conveyancers) of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 with respect to a licensed conveyancer in similar circumstances.
§ The Lord Chancellor
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 258. This amendment brings together a number of miscellaneous and consequential amendments moved during the Commons Committee and Report stages. All except the first paragraph concern amendments which have been considered in earlier groups. Paragraph 30E breaks the link between Crown prosecutors and solicitors in relation to rights of audience in the Crown Court.
Section 4 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 currently gives Crown prosecutors the rights of audience enjoyed by solicitors holding practising certificates together with such extended rights of audience as may be conferred by the Lord Chancellor by directions similar to those that he can make in respect of solicitors under Section 83 of the Supreme Court Act 1981. It is clear that this provision cannot stand in its present form as under the framework in the Bill different categories of solicitors may, in the future, obtain different rights of audience, thus ending the present uniformity. The amendment preserves Crown prosecutors' current rights of audience while also providing for them to be varied.
1507 Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 258.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ Lord Renton
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, may wonder, as I do, how subsection (3) of the amendment will operate. I would not have expected it to be written into the provision but I would have hoped that my noble and learned friend could let us know whether the power he is given to direct that Crown prosecutors may have rights of audience in particular Crown Courts will be exercised after consultation with professional bodies, including the Law Society, the Bar Council and perhaps the Criminal Bar Association and the leaders of the circuits. It would be highly desirable for there to be such consultation before there is an extension of the rights of appearance of Crown prosecutors.
§ Lord Hutchinson of Lullington
My Lords, I presume that the provision relates only to certain inaccessible Crown Courts. If the noble and learned Lord agrees with that, the consultation which is set out in subsection (3E) is sufficient.
§ The Lord Chancellor
My Lords, this matter is similar to what we discussed in some detail on the basis of questions raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, in an earlier debate. The House will remember that Section 4 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 gave wide powers for the Lord Chancellor to vary rights of audience. I took the view that these ought to be used only in relation to restricted types of case but the wording permitted a wider view to be taken. I agreed to modification. This represents that modification. The important point, as the noble Lord, Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, has pointed out, is that any exercise by the Lord Chancellor of his powers would be with the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and indeed all four designated judges. The purpose would be simply to deal with, I would not say a little local difficulty, but something of that kind.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.