HL Deb 23 March 1999 vol 598 cc1148-70

3.10 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 1 [Referral of young offenders to youth offender panels]:

Lord Dholakia moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 15, after ("absolutely") insert ("or conditionally").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, my amendment is designed to introduce a little more flexibility to the lower tariff of sentencing and thus would alleviate almost all cases having to be referred to the youth offender panel. Of course, there are some exceptions which I shall cite later. I do not wish to anticipate what the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, will say about the amendment tabled in his name and in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Renton, Lord Thomas of Gresford and Lord Campbell of Alloway. At this stage, suffice to say that the noble Lord's amendment is designed to introduce discretion in the process, whereas my amendment limits discretion at the lower end of the sentencing process.

There is clarity in Clause 1 of the Bill on which offences do not require referral to youth offender panels. I refer, for example, to: an offence where sentence is fixed by law; an offence where a custodial sentence or hospital order is envisaged, or one where an absolute discharge is appropriate. However, we need to be aware of the considerable variation in sentencing in youth and magistrates' courts. Some courts are more punitive than others and, despite sentencing guidelines from the Magistrates' Association, such variations often cause surprise and concern.

I believe, therefore, that there is no single yardstick by which we can establish a uniform method of working in the courts. However, we can restrict the discretions so that variations in sentencing are not wide. My amendment will do that in three different ways. First, it will allow magistrates to deal with trivial cases without having to refer them to the youth courts. Secondly, unlike total discretion, it will restrict magistrates to use discretion at the lower end of the tariff, thus introducing a more balanced approach to sentencing. Thirdly, it will reduce the workload on youth offender panels when trivial offences are removed from being referred to them, thus achieving the Government's objective of allowing youth offender panels to work with more serious offenders.

There are offences where absolute discharge is appropriate. Equally, a conditional discharge, which puts the onus on a youngster not to commit another offence within a specific time, could have a salutary effect on him or her. We must accept that some offences do not require youngsters to enter into a contract. A conditional discharge would serve that purpose.

Perhaps I may introduce another argument in support of the amendment. I may be wrong but I have always considered absolute discharge and conditional discharge to be part and parcel of the same thinking process. When I served as a magistrate, the exercise I was often given was whether an individual should be discharged and, if so, whether such discharge should be absolute or conditional. I do not believe that one can single out what is absolute and what is conditional unless one has heard all the facts in the court.

I have more serious reservations about giving the courts complete discretion to decide whether or not to refer an eligible young offender to the panel than do the noble Lords who have put their names to Amendment No. 2. There is a real risk that some magistrates— perhaps many—would dislike the idea of losing control of the disposal of the young offender to a panel and would use their discretion by rarely, if ever, making such a referral. If that happened, it would undermine the aim of Clause 1 which is to deal with most young offenders appearing in court for the first time in a more suitable setting than a traditional court.

It is clearly not the intention of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, to undermine the youth referral panels. In a later amendment tabled in his name, one can clearly see the merit of the idea for many young people. Indeed, if the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, was to chair every youth court, we would be confident that he would use his discretion imaginatively and constructively. Unfortunately, I fear that some colleagues on the Bench would use their discretion much more cautiously and in a far less positive and enlightened way.

Let us remind ourselves what we would lose if the proposed youth panel system was jeopardised because magistrates chose to keep most cases in the youth court. The panel would be better able fully to involve the young person and the parents in discussing the offence, its impact on the victim and the steps that should be taken to make amends and to ensure that there is no repetition. In the formal proceedings of the youth court, young offenders and their parents often fail fully to understand what is happening. The legal procedures can hinder the process of young people and parents speaking and contributing fully to the discussion. Drawing up a contract could concentrate on the best course of action to prevent re-offending, including attention to the welfare needs of the young person and his or her family, such as family counselling, educational measures and help to overcome drug abuse.

Giving magistrates complete discretion runs the risk of wrecking this imaginative new development by starving the panels of referrals. However, there may be a case for giving the courts a more limited discretion than that suggested by the later amendment. The strongest case for discretion relates to minor cases where a conditional discharge might be appropriate. Will the Minister consider the "third way" between the Bill as it stands and the amendments that are likely to follow? That would be to insert in Clause 1 an additional ground upon which the court would not be required to refer an offender to a panel. The wording might be to the effect that the court is satisfied that the offence is not serious and that there are special circumstances which make a conditional discharge the appropriate sentence in all the circumstances. Certainly, courts could be required to give their reasons for reaching that conclusion.

I consider mandatory sentencing to be more objectionable when it requires a court to pass a more severe or onerous penalty than it would think right if it had unfettered discretion, and the requirements of a contract could be more onerous than a conditional discharge. However, the same objections do not apply to cases where a young person is mandatorily diverted to a youth referral panel instead of receiving a community sentence such as supervision, probation, tagging or a community service order. A more limited amendment on the lines suggested would not run the risk of undermining the highly constructive proposal contained in Clause 1. I beg to move.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Dholakia tabled an amendment which will add a tiny discretion to the referral order process. That discretion—to discharge the case conditionally as well as absolutely—will enable the magistrates to deal effectively and appropriately with very minor offenders. In so doing, it will avoid clogging the youth offender panel system with young offenders—perhaps I really mean young people—who have a non-existent degree of criminality.

Should the magistrates' assessment be wrong about the degree of criminality that is or is not developing in the young person, the referral order is still available should a second offence occur. I support my noble friend's amendment.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, there is a world of difference and a fundamental distinction between discretion to make or not to make the order which is the subject matter of the next amendment, Amendment No. 2, and the discretion with which this amendment, Amendment No. 1, is concerned as to whether to make an absolute or a conditional discharge. The problem with the type of distinction concerned with the subject matter of Amendment No. 1 is that there is an inherent element of contradiction. Indeed, it is the type of amendment which could, in effect, from a practical point of view, damage the working of the experiment which, on its merits, is wholly supported.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I listened carefully to the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, as he moved his amendment. It was most interesting. Can the Minister tell the House, for the benefit of people like myself, what kind of conditions might be attached to a conditional discharge in these circumstances so that we can see to what extent the amendment would affect the issue?

Viscount Tenby

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, on the ingenuity of his amendment which, to some extent, also embraces the following amendment which stands in the name of, among others, the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham.

On the subject of absolute and conditional discharges, speaking from my own experience as a magistrate, perhaps I may point out that absolute discharges are rare whereas conditional discharges are given every day of the week and have a useful purpose in tying in the offender to a period of behaviour of, say, 12 months or even two years in some cases.

We must be careful with regard to youth offender panels because they will be committing youngsters who have committed and pleaded guilty to a first offence which is not very serious in nature. I am thinking of criminal damage, such as graffiti and painting on walls or something of that kind. If, as one will have to do under the terms of the Bill, one has to commit such an offender to a youth panel with its associated headmasters, criminal psychologists, magistrates and everybody else, that will take quite some time just when we are trying to fast-track the time between the commission of a crime and the execution of its sentence. At the moment, such a person would appear before a youth court and would probably be given a reparation order. That would take about 10 minutes as opposed to the three weeks of the protracted process involving the youth panel.

However, having said that—I come now to why I find the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, so difficult and why I have a great deal of angst about it—Amendment No. 2 would drive a coach and horses through the Crown jewel (if I may mix my metaphors) of this Bill, which is the establishment of youth offender panels. Therefore, I take a certain position on that amendment which I shall relate to the House when we reach it.

With regard to the gallant attempt of the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, to try to circumvent that, I am not really sure whether confining this amendment to absolute and conditional discharges would entirely do the job that the noble Lord wants it to do.

Lord Cope of Berkeley

My Lords, I too sympathise with the ingenious amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, in its extension of the discretion of magistrates. However, my own view, on which I shall expand a little later, is that it is not as satisfactory as the more complete extension of discretion which is represented by Amendment No. 2 in the next grouping.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn)

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour, asked me to answer a specific point and I am happy to deal with that immediately. A conditional discharge is simply a discharge which is given to an offender on a plea of guilty or a finding of guilt; the condition being one of not reoffending during the period of the discharge. As the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby, indicated, they often run for one year and sometimes for two years, but the requirement not to reoffend is the only condition. If the offender reoffends within the period of the discharge period, he or she is taken back to court and may be dealt with for the original offence. In that sense, perhaps the term "conditional discharge" is capable of being misleading. A conditional discharge is as simple as I have described it.

I am grateful, as always, for the careful, patient and, indeed, seductive way in which the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, moved his amendment. I have said on several occasions that the introduction of referral orders and youth offender panels is intended to be a fundamental shift in the way in which we deal with young, first-time offenders. I entirely agree; with the description given by the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby. This is not intended to be another sentencing option. It is a deliberate policy decision that, where the referral conditions are met, no other disposal should be available to the court.

The exceptions are those which the noble Lord indicated. One envisages that the more common exceptions would be an absolute discharge or a custodial sentence. An absolute discharge may well be appropriate where there is technical guilt but perhaps the absence of any significant fault. A custodial sentence must remain available for those where the offence is sufficiently serious and/or there is a need to protect the public. We believe that there are strong and persuasive reasons for allowing the court that discretion in those circumstances.

We do not believe that there is a compelling argument to include conditional discharges. The problem with conditional discharges—this is why I am so grateful to have the opportunity to reply to the noble Baroness—is that they often give the impression to both the public and the offender that the offending behaviour is of no real consequence. A referral order is designed, and is intended, to be a proactive intervention—a conditional discharge is not that—which focuses on the needs of the young person in diverting him or her from further offending.

An interesting aspect of a referral order and its consequences is that it is internally flexible. That is the key to it. Therefore, as a very wide variety of circumstances will lead to such an order being made, those who devise the contract can approach the matter flexibly and focus on the offender. In other words, following an appropriate and wide-ranging inquiry, they will devise a contract which will assist the offender not to reoffend. I think that that is the policy difference between the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, and I. We have discussed this matter on a number of occasions and I am bound to say that I remain unconvinced. If the noble Lord wishes to press his amendment, I invite your Lordships not to assent to it for the reasons that I have briefly given.

Lord Dholakia

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response to the amendment which I tabled partly as a result of a meeting that I attended recently of the All-Party Group on Penal Affairs. The extent to which we tend to put mandatory provisions in our legislation is a matter of serious concern. Therefore, I am not in the least surprised by that response. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, will forgive me for saying that if this is the stance that the Minister is going to take on other amendments, we shall not get much further with this. We should seriously consider whether, as a matter of natural justice, we ought not to forget that from time to time discretion can play a very important part. When those discretions are limited, or to an extent controlled, then it will give justice a bad name.

I have heard everything. I shall certainly keep an eye on this matter and table Questions over time as to how the provision is working. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.30 p.m.

Lord Windlesham moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 1, line 21, leave out from ("court") to ("to") and insert ("may order the offender").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, two weeks ago, in replying to a lengthy and important debate at Report stage about restrictions on evidence in rape trials, the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, remarked on the absence of unanimity on the part of the movers, both as to the nature of the problem addressed and the proposed solution. In contrast, Amendments Nos. 2, 3 and 4 have a transparent simplicity and directness; indeed, they go to the heart of the criminal process and the principles which uphold it.

The amendments would have the effect of conferring on a magistrates' court a discretionary power to refer to a youth offender panel young first offenders under the age of 18 who do not deserve a custodial sentence. The policy of diverting suitable young offenders away from custody has been, for many years, a Holy Grail of the penal system. It is easy to proclaim, but it is very difficult to achieve in practice. The referral orders in Clause 1 of the Bill are a novel form of sentence designed to provide an opportunity for a young person, accompanied by his or her parents whenever possible, or other representatives, to review their offending behaviour with the help of a professionally qualified panel. An agreement or "contract", in the wording of Clause 8 will then be sought with the offender, containing a number of provisions designed to prevent further offending.

All of that is well thought out and offers some hope of preventing a repetitive cycle of offending. It is inevitable that there will be disappointments—perhaps many disappointments—but there should also be successes. So, in short, it is an experiment, and one that is well worth pursuing. I emphasise to your Lordships that nothing in this amendment is intended to contest the policy objectives of keeping as many selected young people as possible out of custody, which we know in many cases is more likely to harden their criminality rather than reduce it. I am confident that these objectives are widely accepted in the House; indeed, in the previous debate the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby, referred to these proposals as the "Crown jewels" of this part of the Bill.

There is therefore only one matter which divides noble Lords who support this group of amendments and the Government who I anticipate will not. It does not relate to the merits of the proposed new disposal in any way. It relates to the central question of whether it should be a mandatory or discretionary decision by the magistrates' courts.

The arguments against mandatory sentencing are well known and will need to be repeated often if the gradual slide down the slippery slope of the past few years is to be resisted. Mandatory sentencing is one of the most fundamental changes of direction in criminal policy for a long time; and it is of the greatest importance. It should be on the facts of each case and the characteristics of the individual offender before the court that magistrates, like judges, decide on the type and severity of the disposal at the conclusion of a trial. The fact that a referral order differs from a sentence in a conventional sense does not alter its nature as a compulsory disposal. As the Bill is drafted, no discretion is left with the magistrates. According to Clause l(2)(b) they must, sentence the offender for the offence by ordering him to be referred to a youth offender panel". This amendment would alter the wording to read, "the court may order the offender to be referred to a panel". Such a simple amendment would render unnecessary the dense thicket of Clause 2, which then goes on to define which young offenders will be eligible for compulsory referrals and which would not.

In that regard the draftsman has had to invent a new sub-category to get around an awkward corner. Under the Bill, compulsory referral follows if an offender, who has never previously been convicted of a criminal offence or been bound over to keep the peace or be of good behaviour, pleads guilty to the offence and any associated offences. But what happens if he is inconsiderate enough to plead guilty to one offence but not to others? Is he or she then eligible for referral or not? That is the sort of thing which causes the computer to crash. The draftsman avoided such an outcome by saying, in elaborate language, that in such circumstances, but only in those circumstances, the court had better have some discretion after all to decide whether or not it would be appropriate to make a referral order. But that is confined narrowly to the question of eligibility where a young person has pleaded guilty to one offence, but not to some other offences. This is an example of how a blanket provision, allowing only for minutely prescribed statutory exceptions, leaves no power in the hands of the magistrates' court to use its own judgment, or its common sense, in deciding whether or not a young person is suitable for this promising new disposal.

I conclude with this observation. There is a tendency of which many of us in this House are aware—it is to be seen in the recent Crime and Disorder Act as well—for the Government, having worked so diligently and thoroughly in developing imaginative new policies on criminal justice, to insist that every provision should be implemented in one specific way. Such a desire for total control is not necessary; indeed, it is potentially dangerous. It introduces undesirable rigidity into the administration of justice. It diminishes the responsibility of sentencers and sooner or later it is inevitable that some hard cases will result. Why is that? Because human behaviour will fail to fit into a predetermined pattern. I beg to move.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow

My Lords, since I was not able to take part in the earlier stages of the Bill, I should perhaps make clear to the Minister that although I want to say a few words in support of the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Windlesham, I wholly support and approve of the general thrust and principles of Part I of the Bill. I fully support the powers of the court to refer people to the youth offender panel.

This Bill contains the framework for imaginative means for dealing with young offenders. I fully support the suggestion that through reparation young offenders should be made to face up to what they have done. I believe that is an admirable move towards tackling the causes of crime among young people. I have read the speeches made by the Minister at each stage of these debates and I applaud what he has said about the purpose of the Bill. However, I believe there is a principle here as stated by my noble friend Lord Windlesham. The principle is surely that the courts should always have the necessary discretion to allow them in all the diverse kinds of cases and as regards the diverse kinds of offenders who appear before them to do that which they believe is justice.

I am opposed to mandatory sentences. As I say, I believe this is a matter of principle. I have made clear on other occasions in this Chamber during the passage of other Bills my strong opposition to mandatory sentencing. It could be said that this is only a small intrusion into the principle of mandatory sentencing, but nevertheless it is an intrusion. I understand that the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby, fears that if this amendment is passed it would drive a coach and horses through the purpose and intention of Part I of the Bill. I put the following point to the noble Viscount. Does that not in a way show a lack of confidence in those who serve as magistrates under the noble Viscount and are members of the Magistrates' Association? I believe that in the vast majority of cases covered by the present proposals, referrals will be made I believe that magistrates should be encouraged to make referrals, just as in sentencing in the higher courts the Court of Criminal Appeal lays down guidelines for courts to follow.

I believe that inevitably there are bound to be cases which although they meet the criteria set out for compulsory referral do not require it. I cannot see what advantage there is to those who are referred that delay should be caused by the referral of cases that need not be referred. I believe that this Bill would be a better Bill if it retained that degree of discretion. It is for that reason that I support my noble friend Lord Windlesham in what he has said.

3.45 p.m.

Lord Thomas of Gresford

My Lords, I made it clear at Second Reading of this Bill that I was a wholehearted supporter of the youth offender panels that are now proposed. Indeed I made the comment that I felt the measure was far too restrictive and that the youth offender panels should be introduced—as in Scotland—as soon as possible to cover the whole range of juvenile offending. The Bill as now drafted has a rigidity about it which is completely unacceptable. I am wholly a supporter of the principle to which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Carlisle of Bucklow, referred a moment ago; namely, that discretion must remain with the sentencer, the magistrates' court. As experience shows, it is impossible for this Parliament to envisage all the circumstances which can arise which bring a young person before the court. It is right that a magistrate who knows all the facts should have the opportunity of imposing such order or sentence as he thinks fit.

I recall the history of the suspended sentence. When the concept of suspended sentences was first introduced, so anxious were the promoters of that idea to ensure that it took a hold upon the judiciary of this country that the sentences were made compulsory. However, it was not long before the injustices which arose from compulsory suspended sentences became clear. As a result of that there was a relaxation of the compulsory conditions. The irony is that the previous government were anxious to tighten up sentencing, but they effectively removed the suspended sentence from the armoury of the court. It can now be imposed only in exceptional circumstances which have been defined as to be so far outside the normal run of things as to occur rarely indeed. Since those provisions were brought in I can recall only one case in my experience where a suspended sentence has been imposed.

While rigidity is imposed upon the courts it is curious to note that under Clauses 2, 3 and 4 there is a built-in mechanism for the Secretary of State, by regulations, to change the compulsory and discretionary referral conditions which are set out in Clauses 1 and 2. Therefore as this Bill comes before us it is already envisaged that changes will have to be made. If one looks at Clause 2(4), one can see that the Secretary of State at some future time has to consider such matters as the offender's age, how he has pleaded, what he is being convicted of, his previous convictions and so on. Therefore the mechanism for change in order to cope with the injustices that will arise is built into the Bill. Why should the Secretary of State have this power by regulation to do something at a future stage when a magistrate who has the young offender before him can impose the necessary order or sentence by which justice will be done? It seems to me that the Government's thinking on this matter is far too rigid. I support these amendments.

Lord Taylor of Warwick

My Lords, I support the proposed amendment of my noble friend Lord Windlesham. I make it clear that I welcome the proposal to refer young, first-time offenders to youth offender panels. I regard that as a positive alternative to the other disposals available to magistrates. However, it is the compulsory nature of the referral order which I oppose. I share the view that the order should be optional and not mandatory. As presently drafted, the clause will be seen as an attack on the discretion of magistrates. They will be given no choice and no chance to exercise their own view. I ask the rhetorical question: who is in a better position to decide a case than magistrates who hear the individual facts of the offence and the personal background of the offender?

In Committee the Minister described the importance of the youth offender panel as the "triggering of an inquiry". But in seeking to exercise their discretion as to sentence, magistrates are already able to order a variety of reports, including, of course, one from the Probation Service. That would require a quite proper delay during which time a detailed inquiry would be carried out. I believe that one of the strengths of our Lay Bench in particular is that it comprises responsible people drawn from a variety of backgrounds. I particularly welcome the fact that there are now more magistrates from the ethnic minority communities. They should be encouraged, not discouraged, to use their own common sense and judgment. As presently drafted, this measure is the antithesis of that.

I once represented a youth in Birmingham who was before the court for the first time. He had boasted that he could do 100 meters in record time. That sounds impressive, but he was talking about breaking into electricity meters! He was on a determined course and to pursue a youth panel contract with him would have caused more harm than good. At the very time when this Government are trying to encourage more people to come forward as magistrates surely it is unwise to give the signal that they cannot be trusted to use this new form of sentence intelligently.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, at the risk of producing a discord in this great harmony of conviction that the magistrates must have discretion in this matter—I have to say that I am not familiar with the working of the youth courts south of the Border and I do not in any way pretend to be—it seems to me that what the Government are proposing is not the imposition of a rigid rule on magistrates but the moving of the responsibility for the flexible approach to what happens to a young offender from the magistrates to the panel. It is completely moving it, with limited exceptions.

The problems of keeping first offenders from offending again have been intractable and very difficult to solve. It seems to me that there is justification in trying something quite different. If the magistrates have discretion a particular sentence would be quite different, but they would still possibly do what they have done before. It seems to me—I may have misunderstood—that young people will come to know that if they offend for the first time they will, virtually inevitably, find themselves before a panel having to discuss in a way that they have never been able to discuss with magistrates what they have done, why they have done it, whether they should make reparation and what they will have to do in order to get out of the bit, as one might say. They will have to do that possibly with a parent or two parents present. They will have to do all the things which are described in the Bill. If that is not the inevitable consequence of a first offence they will see it as they saw it before.

I think there is something in what the Government are suggesting. I think the traditional defence of the freedom of a magistrate to do what a magistrate wills is not the right response to what the Government are proposing at the moment. I do not think—unless I change my mind in the course of the discussion— that I will be able to support my noble friend's amendment.

Lord Lane

My Lords, the sad fact is that the mandatory sentence or mandatory disposal order will inevitably be a potential miscarriage of justice. The sentencing court has the difficult task of trying to reconcile all kinds of apparently irreconcilable matters. It has to determine questions of deterrence, questions of retribution, questions of punishment, questions of rehabilitation and so on. Having thought all those things out, together with the situation of the victim and the situation of the offender, the magistrate or court sentencing comes to a conclusion as to what is just and what is fair; solution "X". Then, notionally, they turn to the statute book to see whether they are allowed by statute to do what they want to; namely, sentence "X". If the statute says "yes" then, fair enough, there is no need to have the mandatory order. If, on the other hand, they are prevented from doing what they consider to be just and fair by the terms of the mandatory sentence, they are then bound to do something which is unjust or unfair. That is not a situation into which any court—a magistrates' court or otherwise—should, respectfully, be put.

It may be that this is a very small example of the mandatory sentence, but, as has already been stated, it is unfortunately an indication of the way things are going. One hoped from what one had heard when the present Government were in opposition that perhaps mandatory sentences would disappear altogether—as indeed they should—but, no, matters have become steadily worse and this is an indication of a further slide, as has been described, down the slope. I suggest, respectfully, that this amendment should be supported.

Lord Renton

My Lords, I firmly support the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Windlesham. The main issue that arises of course, as he said and as others have said, is whether there should be a mandator)' power on the part of the court to refer a case to a youth panel. I would add only one thought. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Lane, with all his experience as Lord Chief Justice, my noble friend Lord Carlisle of Bucklow and all noble Lords who have judicial experience, whether current or in the past, know that the circumstances vary, that the unexpected always arises and that ever to fetter the discretion of the court is a mistake. The court is there, it sees the accused and hears all the circumstances. For Parliament to fetter the discretion of the court would lead, occasionally, to an injustice. I therefore warmly support the amendment for that main reason.

There is another issue—a less important one, I grant your Lordships—and it is this: what is a sentence? The Government have put forward the concept that if a court instead of imposing custody, a fine, a bind over, or an absolute discharge, refers the matter to a youth panel. In the wording of the Bill that is a sentence. I strongly suggest that this is not what a sentence is. I think, therefore, that, purely from the drafting point of view, these amendments also should be supported.

Viscount Tenby

My Lords, I always thought that this amendment would give me a certain amount of angst and I have had it by the bucketful following the lucid and very fair introduction of his amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham. I also appreciate that I would get into trouble with my own association, a point that has been confirmed by the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle of Bucklow. However, I suppose I must press on as best I can.

At an early stage of the Bill, when I discussed the fact that this clause related only to those young offenders who had pleaded guilty to a first offence, the Minister—I hope I am right in this; I have not checked it—was honest enough to say, "Well, yes, at a future time that quite rigid class could be extended by order". In other words, one could get a situation where the ground is being cut from underneath the legally and judicially appointed juvenile court and magistrates' Bench and taken over by what I can only describe, in a certain context, as a non-judicial body; that is, the youth panel. That does present difficulties.

However, I have to come back to my one very big reservation. I am not entirely sure that the moment one gives this discretion magistrates will not be tempted to hang on to the cases all the time, a point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour. That is the big problem. I think that the whole concept of this youth panel treatment of offenders is so important that I am not sure that I am prepared to take that risk.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, 1 spoke at some length during the previous stages of the Bill and I think the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn. and I came to a gentlemen's agreement that we: had heard enough of what we had to hear from each other and the only sensible thing to do, where there was a position of amicable disagreement as a matter of principle, was to take this matter to the opinion of the House. Today, I should like to try to persuade the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby, that his fear that the amendment could drive, I think he said, a carriage and four or a coach and horses through the Bill is, with the greatest respect to him, misconceived.

Those of us who support this amendment believe that the experiment is a very good one and is well worth having. All we wish to do is to improve the way in which it is administered to the individual young offender. In view of the way that this proposal was put by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lane, I hope that the noble Viscount can see, from the view of a former Lord Chief Justice, that we are not driving a carriage and four through this provision; we are seeking to improve the way in which it is applied in practice.

The only other matter is to seek respectfully to answer the concern of my noble friend Lady Carnegy. Naturally—I say this without a hint of patronage or any offence—not being intimately concerned with the theory or practice of crime and punishment, my noble friend is concerned with the deterrent effect of an automatic sentence. "They will know", she says, "these young people, that if they do this, this is what will happen to them".

Even as a Recorder, which is a fairly unimportant form of judicial office compared with that of the Lord Chief Justice, one had to be very careful about deterrent sentences. For all kinds of reasons they do not work in practice, even if one has a discretion to impose them. But where they are automatic, they are as dangerous as dynamite. They can impose manifest injustice. For that reason I hope that my noble friend can, on the merits of the argument that she has heard today, take the view that she could conscientiously support this amendment as seeking to improve what is a first-rate and necessary experiment. The inevitable possibility of error is a deprivation of due justice. That element will persist unless the amendment is accepted. No reasoned argument has been advanced in favour of a mandatory regime, other than by my noble friend Lady Carnegy, as affording any practical advantage over a discretionary regime.

There is no reason to suppose that magistrates, justices of the peace, are either incompetent or incapable of exercising their discretion in the proper manner. Is it not wrong in principle for the Government to interfere with the exercise of judicial discretion in any context? The Bill, for no good reason, derogates from that principle without any convincing justification whatever. I have not heard any such justification yet from the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn; perhaps we shall hear it today. It is said that the proposal is an experiment. That will not do. It is said by the noble Viscount that the amendment would drive a coach and horses through the provision. With respect, that will not do. It has been shown that the working of the experiment would be enhanced if the amendment were accepted. It is a wholly novel and unnecessary imposition to have a mandatory sentence for the reasons that have been given. I commend this amendment, to which I have put my name.

4 p.m.

Lord Warner

My Lords, perhaps I may remind noble Lords of the context of these clauses relating to youth offender panels. I suggest that this set of clauses represents unfinished business from the Crime and Disorder Act. The Crime and Disorder Act provided a new principal aim for all those working in the area of youth justice; namely, to prevent offending. That is no less an aim for those working in the youth courts than it is for those working in youth offending teams or juvenile secure facilities. It means that we are introducing a concept of effectiveness of sentence, as well as the elements of justice and fairness.

These provisions are an attempt to introduce the concept that we want a break with the past. We ought to be concerned about the point raised by the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby; namely, whether magistrates will be tempted to hang onto cases rather than make that break with the past and refer people who meet the referral order conditions to youth offender panels. I suggest that we should have to be heroically optimistic about human nature if we did not believe that magistrates would be tempted to hang on to cases rather than make those referrals.

Clause 2 of the Bill already includes a considerable number of conditions which must be met before a case is referred to a youth offender panel. Magistrates will already have to exercise their discretion and judgment in applying those conditions to particular cases. I suggest that that is adequate provision for judicial discretion, and that we are seeking to give life and intent to the principal aim in the Crime and Disorder Act of preventing offending. If we were to accept this amendment, we should be weakening the break with the past that these clauses seek to achieve. We should be wise to resist this amendment.

Viscount Brentford

My Lords, I wish to make a couple of points on this group of amendments. First, I strongly support the remarks of my noble friend Lord Renton about removing the word "sentence" from this part of the clause. I believe that an "order" should be made; that would give the right impression.

Secondly, my aim, which is for the maximum number of youth offenders to be referred to a youth panel, would be hindered by this amendment. I certainly look forward to the time when regulations are laid for the widening of the use of youth panels. While I do not consider that the amendment drives a carriage and four through the Bill, I also do not consider that the use of the compulsory order is "dynamite", as my noble friend said.

It seems to me that the situations in which an order must be made are very strict and limited in their use. I therefore have doubts about the amendment so far as the reduction of that compulsory element is concerned. We have discussed mandatory sentencing. However, I do not believe that this context is the same' as the context in which we normally discuss mandatory sentencing. It is rather like a red rag to a bull which is side-tracking us from our aim here. As others have said, that aim is to break with the past as regards youth offenders. I should like to see the maximum number of first time offenders being passed immediately to the youth panel. I see no reason for removing the very limited compulsory part of the provision. There is a discretionary part where there is scope for doubt. Therefore, I wish to see the limited part remaining compulsory.

Lord Renton

My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, perhaps he would allow me to intervene. If the amendments are accepted there will still be the opportunity for the court in a non-mandatory way to refer as many cases as they like to the youth panels.

Viscount Brentford

Yes, my Lords, that is obviously correct.

Lord Hylton

My Lords, I speak as a mere layman in these matters. Nevertheless, I wish to say to my noble friend Lord Tenby and others who also have doubts about the amendment that if Clause 2(3) and (4) remain in the Bill the Secretary of State will retain the power to deal with a situation where some magistrates may be tempted to hold on to cases which they should not in the general context of the Bill. I support the amendment and trust that the Government will accept it.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie

My Lords, I believe the amendments will make it too easy for magistrates to avoid making a referral order. Unlike within the children's panel system in Scotland, the young offender in England and Wales will only get one chance of a youth offender contract. There is a danger that young people will slip through the net. There are so many magistrates that I fear it will be too difficult to have a uniform approach to ensuring the imposition of a referral order for a second and potentially qualifying offence.

I believe that in 1968 the 100 sheriffs were happy to give up their juvenile court duties which are now restricted to proving cases where the grounds of referral in the children's panel have been disputed. I wonder whether the magistrates are being a wee bit touchy. I cannot support the amendments.

Viscount Runciman of Doxford

My Lords, I regret that I also was unable to attend the House during the early stages of the Bill. I am conscious that my experience of the criminal justice system is limited to chairing the Royal Commission from 1991 to 1993, whose terms of reference explicitly—and we were glad that it was so—excluded sentencing.

I feel bound to speak in support of the amendment. There is a point of principle here. I have not been persuaded by speakers who have opposed the amendment that it is not a point of principle—that it is not an important point of principle or that it does not matter that it is a point of principle—because we are dealing in a different context with something which is not quite a sentencing option in the ordinary sense or dealing with relatively minor offences.

I find it difficult to understand the objections to the amendment along the lines that the Bill as drafted is not imposing a rigid rule. It is imposing a rigid rule and I entirely endorse what many speakers said—including the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lane, who speaks with far more authority than I could ever do—about the dangers of seeking to fetter the discretion of the courts by statute anywhere in the system, however trivial or serious the offence and whatever the nature of the offender. It is precisely because of the enormous variation in circumstances across the cases that come before the court that it is not only dangerous in principle but counter-productive in practice to attempt to fetter the discretion of judges or magistrates by statute. For that reason, I support the amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Cope of Berkeley

My Lords, this point was discussed on amendments that I moved at the Committee stage and again in the modified form at the Report stage. I support the new formulation moved by my noble friend Lord Windlesham.

In Committee, the Minister saw compulsory referral as what he described as a fundamental point of principle. It was the opposite point of principle from that just set out by my noble and learned friend Lord Carlisle. The Minister's principle seemed to be that magistrates should not be allowed to deal with first offenders who plead guilty to all the offences for which they are before the court. I do not think that that is a good or fundamental principle.

Throughout the Bill we have all supported restorative justice which will be implemented by these panels. We all hope and believe that it will work well and in due course will be extended, if that seems to be right.

The Minister said in Committee that restorative justice could be obtained only by a panel. I accept that, too. But his next sentence was: That is why it is mandatory"—[Official Report, 18/1/99; col. 379.] That did not seem to me to follow at all from the earlier sentence. I believe that magistrates are the best people to decide in each case, and in the particular circumstances of each case, whether restorative justice through the panel system is the best sentence to pass. I use the word "sentence" with due deference to my noble friend Lord Renton. It seems to me that whatever word might be used in the legislation— I think the official word for it is "disposal"—many of those youths who are affected by it will see it as a sentence. It imposes, or in many cases will impose, a financial penalty on them. It imposes, or can impose, restrictions on their movements and so on. It has the nature of a sentence in the way it will ultimately work through the contract system.

I agree that the contract is supposedly voluntary, but it is only voluntary if the young person does not wish to go back before the magistrates for refusing to agree to a contract at all. It has something of the nature of a sentence within it. That is one reason I think it best for the magistrate to make the judgment in each case.

The Minister also said at another stage in our discussions that pilot schemes would be necessary in different parts of the country and then the model would be developed until it covered the whole of England and Wales. That is entirely correct and presupposes that the model will be improved. In the early stages it seems to me that magistrates will in some cases be a little reluctant to send all cases on. But as they gain more confidence that the panels work and as the panels themselves work better as a result of the pilots and of experience, magistrates will gain confidence in the panels and we hope they will see that they work. They will send more and more eligible young people to the panels to be dealt with by them.

After all, the Bill gives the Secretary of State discretion, by allowing the conditions for both compulsory and voluntary referral to be varied by order at a later stage. We all believe that they will be extended, as both the noble Lord, Lord Thomas and the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby, pointed out. They may be extended a very long way; well away from first offenders, for example. There is nothing to say that ultimately this will not be extended to every offender under 18. In theory, under the Bill it could be compulsory for every offender, if the appropriate orders were laid by the Secretary of State, although I do not think that is likely to happen.

The Minister is also giving magistrates a little discretion, as has been pointed out, in the sense that they can impose a custodial sentence at one end or an absolute discharge at the other end, or a hospital order. However, the Bill gives no discretion in between. The amendment seeks to remedy that fault. I believe that the magistrate should have discretion. I also believe that the panels would work better, particularly in the early stages, if the magistrates used their discretion to send what they thought were the most appropriate cases to the panels, where they would be most effective, so as to build up experience and make the panels gain experience and work better. We want them to work better; we want them to work well; and that is why I think we should trust the magistrates and support this amendment.

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, essentially, this has nothing to do with whether or not one trusts the magistrates. Perhaps I might be allowed a personal observation, which is to say how great a pleasure it is to all of us to see the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lane, as former Lord Chief Justice, contributing to this debate from his usual place, despite the fact that I respectfully disagree with his view.

When one listens to a debate of this kind, one appreciates the very great care and thought that has gone into every contribution. A thought not entirely ignoble also struck me, which is how, on listening to various contributions, one reflects how deeply conservative many lawyers are, even some who have been former Home Office Ministers. It was not until the noble Baroness offered her contribution that I said, not even sotto voce but to myself, "at last"—because here was a contribution which not only supported the stance that I was about to adopt, but which actually took an independent reflective view of what was being proposed. There was no shibboleth, no historic baggage: just a calm, reflective view.

One or two myths have been regularly resurrected, and they ought now to have a decent and fairly prompt burial. The objection to mandatory sentence as a practice in principle is as identified, I think, by a number of your Lordships—certainly by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lane, and also by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford. They were pointing, I think, to the essential disadvantages as being undue rigidity—I think I quote— and possible injustice.

Perhaps we may spend a moment looking at the scheme. The scheme in fact requires in most circumstances—not where a custodial sentence is appropriate and not where an absolute discharge is right and just, but in most circumstances—the youth court to deal with those under 18 who are a particular category of offender: they are first-time offenders who have pleaded guilty. Notoriously, as the noble Lord, Lord Warner, was indicating, that is the class of offender, attention to which is likely to be most productive, to use his phrase, in preventing re-offending.

They have not become accustomed to crime. They have not been playing the system, because they have pleaded guilty. I take entirely the point that was made by the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, that this is a distinct category of young offender, as regards whom our purpose must be to have an intervention at the earliest possible stage. I come back to the objection, putting it in inverted commas, "in principle", which I mentioned a moment or two ago. The point of this referral system is to afford abundant flexibility: indeed, I suggest, accurately I believe, more flexibility than the courts have at present.

The power is there to create an appropriate forum which is rather less legalistic than the magistrates can be—it is not the magistrates' fault: it is the rigidity of the present system—with more information, pace the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Warwick, more informed input and knowledge than the youth court can presently be given. Why is that? It involves the young offender directly in the development of a contract which is to affect his life. Again, notoriously, large numbers of young offenders in this class have never actually been obliged—I use the word deliberately—to have any responsibility for their lives, nor encouraged appropriately to think that responsibility truly lies with them. That is why they re-offend.

The decision, which will be obligatory in most cases, is that the young person will be obliged to go to the panel. It is much more difficult, I contend, for a young offender to have to look at his or her own behaviour, to examine properly the consequences of what, after all, is a crime. Even though the crime may have had a label which renders it apparently insignificant as a statistic, many of these crimes are not at all insignificant if one considers the offender. It obliges them for the first time to do that difficult thing: actually to look at what they have done and recognise the consequences.

That is why we are looking for a new device. It is the crown jewel. It is a forum which involves—sometimes obliges—parents, guardians, other family members, other influential adults and, where they wish it after appropriate thought, the victims also. That is a spectrum which is not available to the magistrates, and because one has the flexibility of the ultimate remedy—that is the contract— the flexibility of the ultimate remedy is in fact what tells against the apparently attractive proposition that this is inflexible and over-rigid.

It is not. There will be infinite flexibility available to the panels: I repeat, far more than the magistrates have at present. This is intended to be a fundamental shift in the way in which we deal with young people. Should anyone ask the question: "Is such a shift required?", I would simply say "Look at the figures; look at the system that we have at the moment. It has not been working over the past 25 years. "

We believe that if one has this obligatory reference—it does not matter for the present purpose whether one calls it, pace the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, an order or a sentence—that obligatory reference is intended to be restorative, in the sense that the noble Lord, Lord Cope, indicated. He said that restorative justice is not open to the magistrates, but we require panels in every case to consider that aspect of restorative justice. Is it in fact taking away all discretion from the court? No, it is not. If one looks at Clause 3(1)(c), the length of the period is for the determining or sentencing court; namely, the youth magistrates' court. It is a period of from three to 12 months, so that flexibility and lack of rigidity is there even at the earlier stage. Perhaps it is worth bearing in mind that if one looks—

Lord Renton

My Lords, if I may interrupt, it is under that provision that the noble Lord has mentioned that there must be three months in any event.

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, of course; that is why I said three to 12 months. I am not seeking to disguise that: I thought I had actually drawn attention to it. Three months to 12 months is the span which the magistrates have. It is a well-known conventional device in other contexts—for instance, probation orders, which have a maximum term which the magistrates can impose.

One needs to look at what happens in community sentences at the moment. If a court sentences to a community disposition at the moment the fine detail is not set down by the sentence in court. It is actually dealt with by probation officers and social workers on the ground. I repeat to your Lordships, because it is a point of some virtue, that the flexibility offered to the youth offender panel, in other words, the final forum of disposition, is infinitely variable and infinitely flexible to deal with every circumstance and every offender.

As the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, pointed out, it is quite right that we have here a different approach. We believe that, after careful thought, we have got it right. That does not mean that we are undoubtedly correct, but I believe that we are. We are saying to magistrates that unless it is custody or an absolute discharge they are given the power of three to 12 months. After that the restorative contract that is designed fundamentally to avoid reoffending lies with the panel which will have the fullest possible opportunity to change human behaviour in young people. I hope that I have dealt with the objections of principle and detail. I cannot leave this matter without rejoicing at the new prospect, to me, of a bucketful of angst. The words of the noble Viscount very much remind me of wet Sunday afternoons in North Wales for which no better description than "a bucketful of angst" has ever been known.

4.30 p.m.

Lord Thomas of Gresford

My Lords, since the noble Lord makes that comment about North Wales (from where I come), is he seriously saying that to oppose mandatory sentences and to seek to uphold the discretion of the court is a deeply conservative attitude; and, if so, in what way?

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, obviously I have not succeeded in what I seek to say. What is truly, deeply and depressingly conservative is simply to have a slogan, attach it to a staff and to believe that that disposes of all rational alternatives. That is what is deeply conservative. Simply to say that mandatory sentences are wrong without looking at this very careful construction is, if not conservative, extremely blinkered.

Lord Windlesham

My Lords, this has been a long debate in which 16 noble Lords from all parts of the House have spoken. We have been discussing the amendment for about an hour. This shows that on a substantial issue of public importance noble Lords can make short speeches in which they are able to display the strength of their views. In view of the closing words of the reply of the noble Lord, Lord Williams, perhaps those on this side of the House would feel more comfortable if he substituted "conventional" for "conservative". I believe that that was the burden of the message that he wished to convey, and we should like there to be no misunderstanding about it.

This has been a non-party debate, as demonstrated by the divergent expressions of opinion from each part of the House. If it is not invidious to do so, and the noble Lord, Lord Williams, did the same, may I remark on the respect with which we listened to the views of the former Lord Chief Justice the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lane, and the Chairman of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, the noble Viscount, Lord Runciman. Both speak with unrivalled authority, and are wholly independent of any other speaker or party. I suggest that the force of their views should be taken into account when I ask noble Lords to express their opinion.

As was indicated earlier by my noble friends Lord Renton and Lord Campbell of Alloway, when this issue was raised by myself at Report stage there was a short exchange to the effect that Third Reading was the appropriate time for the matter to be discussed in greater detail. That has happened today and now noble Lords have the opportunity in the Lobbies to decide how it should be resolved.

4.34 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 149; Not-Contents, 144.

Division No. 1
Addington, L. Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Addison, V. Butterworth, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B. Byford, B.
Annaly, L. Cadman, L.
Astor of Hever, L. Caithness, E.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Campbell of Alloway, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Biffen, L. Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Blaker, L. Chesham, L.
Blatch, B. Clanwilliam, E.
Bowness, L. Clark of Kempston, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L Coleraine, L.
Bridgeman, V. Cope of Berkeley, L.
Broadbridge, L. Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L
Brougham and Vaux, L. Cox, B.
Bruntisfield, L. Crickhowell, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Cross, V.
Davidson, V. Mountevans, L.
Denbigh, E. Moynihan, L.
Dickinson, L. Munster, E
Donegall, M. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Downshire, M. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Elles, B. Newall, L.
Ferrers, E. Norrie, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L. Northesk, E.
Gage, V. Nunburnholme, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. O'Cathain, B.
Glenarthur, L. Onslow, E.
Glentoran, L. Oxfuird, V.
Gormanston, V. Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. Pender, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Hayhoe, L. Poole, L.
Henley, L. [Teller.] Rankeillour, L.
Higgins, L. Rawlings, B.
Hogg, B. Reay, L.
Holderness, L. Rees, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L. Renton, L.
HolmPatrick, L. Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Hooper, B. Renwick, L.
Hooson, L. Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Hothfield, L. Romney, E.
Howe, E. Runciman of Doxford, V.
Hylton, L. Russell, E.
Hylton-Foster, B. Russell-Johnston, L.
Ilchester, E. Sandford, L.
Ironside, L. Sandwich, E.
Jopling, L. Seccombe, B.
Kimball, L. Selsdon, L.
Kinnoull, E. Sharples, B.
Knight of Collingtree, B. Shaw of Northstead, L.
Lane, L. Shuttleworth, L.
Lauderdale, E. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Lincoln, Bp. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B. Steel of Aikwood, L.
Liverpool, E. Strathclyde, L.
Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E. Sudeley, L.
Long, V. Swansea, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Swinfen, L.
Luke, L. Taverne, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L. Taylor of Warwick, L.
McNair, L. Teviot, L.
McNally, L. Thomas of Gresford, L.
Marlesford, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Merrivale, L. Trenchard, V.
Middleton, L. Tugendhat, L.
Miller of Hendon, B. Vivian, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L. Waddington, L.
Monro of Langholm, L. Wilcox, B.
Montgomery of Alamein, V. Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Moore of Wolvercote, L. Windlesham, L.
Morris, L. Wynford, L.
Young, B.
Ackner, L. Brightman, L.
Acton, L. Brookman, L.
Ahmed, L. Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Bruce of Donington, L.
Amos, B. Burlison, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L. Carnegy of Lour, B.
Bach, L. Carter, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Chorley, L.
Blackstone, B. Christopher, L.
Blease, L. Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Borrie, L. Clinton-Davis, L.
Bragg, L. Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Bramall, L. Craig of Radley, L.
Brentford, V. Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B. Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. Mar and Kellie, E.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. Marsh, L.
Desai, L. Mason of Barnsley, L.
Dixon, L. Merlyn-Rees, L.
Donoughue, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Mishcon, L.
Dubs, L. Molloy, L.
Eatwell, L. Monkswell, L.
Evans of Parkside, L. Monson, L.
Exmouth, V. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. Morris of Manchester, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Gainsborough, E. Nicol, B.
Gilbert, L. Oliver of Aylmerton, L.
Glanusk, L. Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Glenamara, L. Orme, L.
Goudie, B. Palmer, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B. Peston, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Pitkeathley, B.
Gregson, L. Plant of Highfield, L.
Grenfell, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Hacking, L. Prys-Davies, L.
Haddington, E. Ramsay of Cartvale, B. [Teller.]
Hanworth, V. Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Hardie, L. Richard, L.
Harding of Petherton, L. Rowallan, L.
Hardy of Wath. L. Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Harris of Haringey, L. St John of Bletso. L.
Haskel, L. Scotland of Asthal. B.
Hayman, B. Sefton of Garston, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. Sewel, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L. Shannon, E.
Hollis of Heigham, B. Shepherd, L.
Howie of Troon, L. Sheppard of Liverpool, L.
Hoyle, L. Shore of Stepney, L.
Hughes, L. Simon, V.
Hughes of Woodside, L. Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L. Stair, E.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.] Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Islwyn, L Stone of Blackheath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L. Strabolgi, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [LordPrivy Seal] Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Jeger, B. Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Thurlow, L.
Kennet, L. Tomlinson, L.
Kintore, E. Turner of Camden, B.
Kirkhill, L.. Varley, L.
Levy, L. Walker of Doncaster, L.
Lockwood, B. Warner, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L. Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Longford, E. Weatherill, L.
Lovell-Davis, L. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L. Wharton, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.] Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel. L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

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