HC Deb 09 November 1977 vol 938 cc97-8W
Mr. Lawrence

asked the Prime Minister whether the terms of reference of the Royal Commission on the Criminal Legal Process are intended to cover (a) the whole process of criminal trial in whatever trial court up to and including sentence and in particular, plea bargain- ing, (b) the whole process of appeals against decisions in criminal courts, (c) the exercise of the discretion to prosecute, and (d) the question of police bail.

The Prime Minister:

The terms of reference of the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure were given in my reply of 24th June to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mt. Gould). Interpretation of the terms of reference will be a matter for the Commission itself. Subject to that qualification, the Government envisage that, in the area of trial procedures, the Commission will concentrate on those aspects which are linked with the pre-trial and prosecution matters set out in the terms of reference: and these do not include sentencing or the appeal process. Item (ii) in the terms of reference will enable the Commission to consider the exercise of prosecution discretion, and item (i) the granting of bail by the police. The terms of reference also enable the Commission, if it so decides, to consider the various practices described as "plea bargaining ".

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