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Access to Justice Act 1999

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Justices' chief executives, justices' clerks and staff

87Qualification for appointment as chief executive

In section 40 of the [1997 c. 25.] Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (appointment of justices' chief executive), omit subsection (5) (under which a person may not be appointed unless eligible for appointment as a justices' clerk).

88Role of chief executives

(1)For section 41 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (functions of justices' chief executives) substitute—

41Role of justices' chief executive

(1)The justices' chief executive appointed by any magistrates' courts committee shall make arrangements for the efficient and effective administration of the magistrates' courts for the area to which the committee relates.

(2)For that purpose the administration of the magistrates' courts for the area to which a magistrates' courts committee relates includes—

(a)the exercise of the function of acting as clerk to the committee; and

(b)the exercise of all of the functions conferred or imposed on justices' chief executives by or under any other enactment so far as relating to any of those courts or that committee.

(3)The duty imposed on a justices' chief executive by subsection (1) above shall in particular require him—

(a)to allocate responsibility for what falls to be done in the exercise of his functions among justices' clerks and the staff of the committee; and

(b)to determine the administrative procedures to be followed by them.

(4)The justices' chief executive appointed by a magistrates' courts committee shall make arrangements for discussions relating to matters of law (including procedure and practice) among the justices' clerks appointed by the committee, in particular with a view to securing consistency in the advice given by them to justices about such matters.

(5)The justices' chief executive appointed by a magistrates' courts committee shall perform—

(a)the duties imposed on him by this section; and

(b)any other functions conferred or imposed on him by or under any other enactment,

in accordance with any directions given to him by the committee.

(6)Subject to section 48 below, the justices' chief executive appointed by a magistrates' courts committee may give directions to justices' clerks and the staff of the committee as to the carrying out of their responsibilities (including the performance of any functions conferred or imposed on them by or under any enactment).

(2)In section 31 of that Act (powers and duties of magistrates' courts committees), omit subsection (2) (power of magistrates' courts committees to allocate responsibilities among chief executive, clerks and members of staff and to determine the administrative procedures to be followed by them).

(3)In section 40 of that Act (appointment of justices' chief executive), after subsection (1) insert—

(1A)The justices' chief executive appointed by a magistrates' courts committee is—

(a)the justices' chief executive for every magistrates' court for the committee’s area;

(b)the justices' chief executive for every petty sessions area for which they are the committee; and

(c)the chief executive to the justices acting for every such petty sessions area.

(4)In section 61 of that Act (defaults of justices' clerk etc.), after “clerk” insert “, of a justices' chief executive”.

89Independence of clerks and staff exercising legal functions

(1)For section 48 of the [1997 c. 25.] Justices of the Peace Act 1997 substitute—

48Independence of justices' clerks and staff exercising legal functions

(1)When exercising any legal function—

(a)a justices' clerk shall not be subject to the direction of the justices' chief executive or any other person or body; and

(b)a member of the staff of a magistrates' courts committee shall not be subject to the direction of any person or body other than a justices' clerk.

(2)In subsection (1) “legal function” means—

(a)any function exercisable by one or more justices of the peace; or

(b)a function specified in section 45(4) or (5) above.

(2)In section 45 of that Act (functions of justices' clerks)—

(a)in subsection (4) (advice on law, practice or procedure to justices at their request), for “law, practice or procedure” substitute “matters of law (including procedure and practice)”, and

(b)in subsection (5) (power to bring point of law, practice or procedure to attention of justices), for “law, practice or procedure” substitute “law (including procedure and practice)”.

90Transfer of clerks' functions to chief executives

(1)Schedule 13 (which makes amendments transferring administrative functions of justices' clerks to justices' chief executives) has effect.

(2)The Lord Chancellor may by order made by statutory instrument make provision for the transfer of other administrative functions of justices' clerks to justices' chief executives.

(3)An order under subsection (2) may contain amendments of enactments.

(4)A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (2) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(5)For the purposes of this section the administrative functions of justices' clerks are all of their functions apart from those which are legal functions within the meaning given by section 48(2) of the Justices of the [1997 c. 25.] Peace Act 1997.

91Accounting etc. functions of chief executives

(1)In the Justices of the Peace Act 1997, after section 41 (as substituted by section 88(1) above) insert—

41AJustices' chief executive as collecting officer

(1)A justices' chief executive shall, by virtue of his office, be collecting officer of each of the courts for the area of the magistrates' courts committee which appointed him.

(2)A justices' chief executive shall act under any order made under section 30 of the [1914 c. 58.] Criminal Justice Administration Act 1914 (which provided for periodical payments under court orders to be made through an officer of the court or other third party) which, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 16A of Schedule 4 to this Act, has effect to direct the payment of money to him.

(3)This section is without prejudice to the provisions of—

(a)section 59 of the [1980 c. 43.] Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (periodical payments through justices' chief executive); and

(b)sections 59A and 62 of that Act (proceedings by justices' chief executive).

(2)In section 60 of that Act (application of fines and fees)—

(a)in subsection (1) (payment to Lord Chancellor of sums received by a justices' clerk), for “justices' clerk” substitute “justices' chief executive” and omit paragraph (b)(ii) (special provision for compensation orders),

(b)in subsection (3) (exception for salary and expenses of justices' clerk), for “justices' clerk” substitute “justices' chief executive”,

(c)omit subsection (4) (which is superseded by the amendment made by subsection (3) of this section), and

(d)in the sidenote, for “fines and fees” substitute “receipts of justices' chief executive”.

(3)After that section insert—

60ARegulations about payment, accounting and banking

The Lord Chancellor, with the concurrence of the Treasury, may by statutory instrument make regulations—

(a)as to the times at which, and the manner in which, a justices' chief executive shall pay sums payable by him to the Lord Chancellor or any other person;

(b)requiring the keeping and production of accounts by justices' chief executives in respect of sums received by them (apart from any received on account of their salaries or expenses as such) and for the inspection and audit of the accounts required to be kept; and

(c)requiring justices' chief executives to use specified banking arrangements or facilities, or banking arrangements or facilities of a specified description, in relation to sums received by them (apart from any received on account of their salaries or expenses as such).

(4)In Part II of Schedule 4 to that Act (transitional provisions and savings), after paragraph 16 insert—

16A. Any order made before 1st April 1953 under section 30 of the [1914 c. 58.] Criminal Justice Administration Act 1914 or section 1 of the [1914 c. 6 (4&5 Geo.5).] Affiliation Orders Act 1914—

(a)if it directs payments to be made to any officer of a court of summary jurisdiction, shall have effect as if it directed them to be made to the justices' chief executive who is the collecting officer of that court; and

(b)if it directs payments to be made to any person who is not an officer of a court of summary jurisdiction, shall have effect as if it directed them to be made to the justices' chief executive who is the collecting officer of the court making the order.

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