Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) (No. 2) Bill (Allocation of Time) — Supplemental orders — 25 Jul 2000

Dominic Grieve MP, Beaconsfield voted in the minority (Aye).

I beg to move,

That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining proceedings on the Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) (No. 2) Bill--

Timetable

2.--(1) This paragraph applies for the purpose of bringing proceedings on the Bill to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph 1.

(2) The Speaker shall put forthwith the following Questions (but no others)--

(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;

(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;

(c) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;

(d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded.

(3) On a Motion made for a new Clause or Schedule, the Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

(4) If two or more Questions would otherwise fall to be put under sub-paragraph (2)(c) on amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.

3. Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply at today's sitting to proceedings to which this Order applies.

4. Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

5. No Motion shall be made to alter the order in which proceedings on the Bill are taken or to recommit the Bill.

6. No dilatory Motion shall be made in relation to the Bill except by a Minister of the Crown; and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

7.--(1) This paragraph applies if--

(a) a Motion for the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No.24 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) has been stood over to Seven o'clock; and

(b) proceedings on this Motion have begun before then.

(2) The bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings which, under this Order, are to be brought to a conclusion after that time, shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

8. Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply to the Bill.

9. The proceedings on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this

Order shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced; and Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to those proceedings.

10. If at today's sitting the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before the expiry of the period at the end of which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order, no notice shall be required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.

We do not think that defendants should be able to choose their court of trial solely on the basis that they think they will get a fairer hearing at one level or another. Nor in our view should defendants be entitled to choose the mode of trial which they think will offer them a better chance of acquittal any more than they should be able to choose the judge who they think will offer them the most lenient sentence.

In matters of most momentous criminal concern this right--

must at least in general be preserved, but it would be absurd to grant a right to jury trial in all cases, however trivial, and those who here in the City drafted the terms of Magna Carta would be surprised to find that intention attributed to them. In cases triable either summarily or by judge and jury I would at present in this country be very reluctant to accord the prosecutor an absolute right to choose the mode of trial, as is done in Scotland.

But equally it seems to me objectionable to accord such an absolute right to the defendant, on whose list of priorities the reaching of a just and expeditious decision may not rank very highly. This is a judicial decision properly to be made by the magistrates court on consideration of all the relevant circumstances, but I think it vital, as the Government has happily accepted, that such decisions should be susceptible to immediate challenge to a Crown court judge to ensure that such questions are carefully and objectively considered with due regard to the perceptions of those who may regard themselves as vulnerable, and to provide redress against the occasional aberrant decision, should such be made.

the reputation clause is repellent because it creates a two-tier system. We have all argued against that and everyone on the Government Back Benches would make common cause on that.--[ Official Report , 7 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 920.]

there are dangers in excluding consideration of anything which is relevant in the given case.

I am uneasy at requiring decision makers to ignore matters which reasonable decision makers might wish to take into account.

I am very grateful to you for your advice on this. I hope what I say above is reassuring to you. If it is not I would be happy to add this to the agenda of our forthcoming meeting on 6 April, and could ask Parliamentary Counsel to attend as well. Charles Clarke will be listening carefully to the debate in committee to see whether, within our overall purpose, the wording can be improved, and I will consult you if there are amendments we are minded to accept or put down ourselves.

I respectfully think that it is better to give magistrates and circuit judges a wide and almost undirected discretion.--[ Official Report, House of Lords , 20 January 2000; Vol. 608, c. 1254.]

The Bill is part of the Government's programme to modernise the criminal justice system and to improve public confidence in it. Its purpose is to make the system more responsive to the needs of victims, witnesses and the public at large--and defendants.

The proposal--

has been considered extensively in the past seven years.

In 1993, it--

received the unanimous backing of the royal commission on criminal justice. Today, it--

enjoys the active endorsement of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, and of the vast majority-- [Interruption.] --[ Official Report , 7 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 886.]

I beg to move, as an amendment to the motion, in paragraph 1, leave out "five" and insert "eight".

The past half hour or more has demonstrated that the Government have no idea what they are doing with the Bill or the timetable motion. A number of arguments--I use the term advisedly--were advanced by the Home Secretary in support of his timetable motion.

Today, it enjoys the active endorsement of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham.

Today, it enjoys the active endorsement of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, and of the vast majority of the High Court Bench of nearly 100 senior judges; of the Magistrates Association, representing 30,000 justices of the peace; and of all three police associations, representing more than 125,000 police officers, each of whom has to deal every day with the victims of crime and its perpetrators and who know that justice is not served, either for victim or defendant, by an antiquated and time-wasting procedure, which the Bill seeks to remedy.--[ Official Report , 17 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 886.]

I was not sure for a long time but I have finally decided to remove the right of election for jury trial in either way cases and the reason is that I do not want defendants choosing jury trial to argue Human Rights Act points after the Act comes into force in October.

The Bill is part of the Government's programme to modernise the criminal justice system and to improve public confidence in it.--[ Official Report , 7 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 886.]

The basic requirements of a reformed system as identified in our First Report were:

The Government of the day must be assured of getting its legislation through in reasonable time (provided that it obtains the approval of the House).

The Opposition in particular and Members in general must have a full opportunity to discuss and seek to change provisions to which they attach importance.

All parts of a bill must be properly considered.

It is said that the Government is driving the Bill through without amendment, regardless of what one hopes will be the view of the House of Lords, in order that it may then use the Parliament Act to force it into law in the next session. How far away is tyranny?

When we wrote that letter, we did not know that tyranny, in the shape of the timetable motion, was at the door. The Government have a great deal for which to answer on the substance of the Bill and on the timetable motion.

The home secretary, Jack Straw, seriously misled the House of Commons and Tony Blair over the extent of support among senior judges for his revised plans to restrict a defendant's right of trial by jury, a Labour MP revealed last night.

Mr. Straw told the Commons second reading debate on March 7 that his plan "enjoys the active endorsement of the lord chief justice, Lord Bingham, and the vast majority of the high court bench of nearly 100 senior judges".

Yet exactly a fortnight earlier Lord Bingham had expressed his "unease" to the home secretary in a private letter about the "dangers" of the legislation which was amended after being thrown out by the Lords.

In a letter to Mr. Marshall-Andrews yesterday, the home secretary appeared to bluff it out, claiming that Lord Bingham still supports the change while admitting in the next sentence--

while admitting in the next sentence that the law lord will only back it if it includes a safeguard that Mr. Straw has specifically rejected.

You also referred to the Prime Minister's reply to the question from David Lidington on 5 July. It seems to me that the Prime Minister was fully justified in his response. Both the Royal Commission and the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, supported the principle that defendants should not be able to choose to be tried by a jury in cases which magistrates have indicated that they would be content to hear. Lord Bingham is still, I understand, of the opinion that the decision whether an either way case should be tried in the Crown Court or by magistrates should be made by magistrates (subject to appeal to a Crown Court judge) and not, as now, by the defendant. He is, however, firmly of the view that in making their decision--

Lord Bingham is still, I understand, of the opinion that the decision whether an either way case should be tried in the Crown Court or by magistrates should be made by magistrates (subject to appeal to a Crown Court judge) and not, as now, by the defendant. He is, however, firmly of the view that in making their decision magistrates should be free to take into account all the circumstances of the case which they consider to be relevant. I believe that Professor Zander holds a similar view. The difficulty with giving the courts such a wide-ranging discretion is that it would create a perception that defendants would be treated differently on the basis of their social or economic standing in society.

It is constitutionally abhorrent that Scottish MPs should vote on a matter concerning fundamental civil liberties in England and Wales while Westminster MPs have no right to vote on such legislation affecting Scotland.

A jury is an insurance that the criminal law will conform to the ordinary man's idea of what is fair and just. If it does not, the jury will not be a party to its enforcement.

If jury trial is to be retained for "either-way" cases, who is to determine whether the matter shall go to the jury and by reference to what criterion or criteria? If the main criterion is to be the seriousness of the charge, is there a case for changing the present level of seriousness? Should all cases destined for trial by jury start in the Crown court?

Who should decide where a case is to be tried.

Today, it--

enjoys the active endorsement of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, and of the vast majority of the High Court Bench of nearly 100 senior judges.

Thank you very much for your letter of 21 February.

But your conclusion . . . causes me concern.

I think there are dangers in excluding consideration of anything which is relevant in the given case.

Both men, for opposite reasons, rely on their records as a reason for seeking jury trial. Are the magistrates and the crown court judge to be obliged to ignore these points? If so, that is surely unsatisfactory.

I am uneasy at requiring decision-makers to ignore matters of which reasonable decision-makers might wish to take account.

Today, it enjoys the active endorsement of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham--[ Official Report , 7 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 886.]

We see merit in the legislation specifically referring to the various matters (including potential loss of reputation) which the bench should take into account.

any of the circumstances of the offence (but not of the accused).

The mode of trial legislation was recommended by a royal commission, it is supported by the Lord Chief Justice, it will hugely increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system.--[ Official Report , 5 July 2000; Vol. 353, c. 330.]

wrong . . . short-sighted, and likely to prove ineffective.

If a police officer, a Member of Parliament or even a Secretary of State were charged with an offence of dishonesty, would they not insist on being tried by a jury? If that is the case, why should others be denied that right of election?--[ Official Report , 27 February 1997; Vol. 238, c. 433-34.]

The Home Secretary should spend a little time explaining what has changed since then.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 170, Noes 311.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 124 (+2 tell)078.8%
Independent0 1033.3%
Lab309 (+2 tell) 0175.0%
LDem0 39083.0%
PC0 1025.0%
SNP0 2033.3%
UUP0 2022.2%
Total:309 169174.9%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
Andrew MacKinlayThurrockLabboth

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