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Criminal Justice and Courts Bill: Commons stages

Published Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2013-14 had its second reading on 24 February 2014 and was carried over to 2014-15 session. Library Research Paper 14/8 The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill provides background on the proposals in the Bill. There are four parts covering criminal justice, including offences relating to extreme pornographic images and release and recall of prisoners, young offenders, secure colleges and youth cautions, changes to courts and tribunals, including strict liability and jury misconduct, and judicial review changes, which attracted much written and oral evidence.

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The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2013-14 had its second reading on 24 February 2014. Library Research Paper 14/8 The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill provides background on the proposals in the Bill. There are four parts covering criminal justice, including offences relating to extreme pornographic images and release and recall of prisoners, young offenders, secure colleges and youth cautions, changes to courts and tribunals, including strict liability and jury misconduct, and judicial review changes, which attracted much written and oral evidence.

The Public Bill stage ran from 11 March to 1 April 2014. The first day of report was held on 12 May. There is a carry over motion applicable to the Bill and so the final day of report and third reading will take place in the next session.

There were a number of amendments to the Bill at committee stage, but no amendments or new clauses were added as a result of Government defeats. The Opposition concentrated most of its concern in relation to part 4 on judicial review changes, and there were a number of divisions on clause stand part debates. There were two new clauses:

• drugs for which prisoners can be tested and;

• offences of sending letters with intent to cause distress and anxiety.

These are clauses 14 and 18 respectively in the Bill as amended in public bill committee, Bill 192. There is a track-changed version of the Bill, which shows the amended text.

The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, tabled new clauses for report stage in 2013-14 session, on sentences for murder of police or prison officer, offences for disqualified drivers, on sentencing of young offenders for certain serious offences and on certain planning appeals. The first two were added to the Bill on 12 May 2014.

More Government amendments have been tabled for the final day of report and third reading. New proposals include:

• tackling personal injury claims;

• new offence to deal with police corruption;

• new offence of wilful neglect by care workers.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights published The implications for justice of the Government’s proposals to reform judicial review on 30 April, which was critical of the Government’s plans for judicial review in part 4 of the Bill. The programme motion provides for amendments to Part 4 to be debated on 14 June. The Joint Committee published a further report on the Bill on 11 June 2014. Legislative Scrutiny (1) Criminal Justice and Courts Bill; (2) Deregulation Bill which raised issues about rights of the child, increased sentences for terrorism, young offenders, criminal courts charge and repeated its concerns about judicial review changes.

Commons Briefing papers SN06882

Authors: Jacqueline Beard; Oonagh Gay; Gabrielle Garton Grimwood; Catherine Fairbairn; Pat Strickland; John Woodhouse

Topics: Courts, Crime, Criminal law, Prisons, Sexual offences

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