Search Legislation

Access to Justice Act 1999

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Magistrates' courts committees

81Areas outside Greater London

For section 27 of the [1997 c. 25.] Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (general provisions about magistrates' courts committees) substitute—

Introductory
27Introduction

Magistrates' courts committees shall have—

(a)such functions as are conferred or imposed on them by or under this Act or any other enactment; and

(b)such other functions relating to matters of an administrative character as they may be authorised by the Lord Chancellor to undertake.

Magistrates' courts committees outside Greater London
27ACommittees

(1)England and Wales outside Greater London shall be divided into areas for each of which there shall be a magistrates' courts committee.

(2)The areas of the committees shall be as specified by the Lord Chancellor by order made by statutory instrument.

(3)Each area outside Greater London for which there is a magistrates' courts committee shall—

(a)consist of the whole of one or more commission areas or be included wholly within a single commission area; and

(b)comprise the whole of one or more petty sessions areas.

27BAlteration of committee areas

(1)A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London may at any time submit to the Lord Chancellor written proposals for the alteration of their area.

(2)Before submitting such proposals, the magistrates' courts committee shall consult—

(a)the magistrates for their area or any other magistrates' courts committee area to which the proposals relate;

(b)any other magistrates' courts committee to which the proposals relate; and

(c)every relevant authority whose area includes all or any part of any of the magistrates' courts committee areas to which the proposals relate.

(3)The Lord Chancellor shall not make an order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area unless he is satisfied that the making of the order is likely to contribute to an overall increase in the efficiency of the administration of magistrates' courts.

(4)Before making an order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area, other than an order which implements proposals submitted to him under subsection (1) above, the Lord Chancellor shall consult—

(a)the magistrates for the area;

(b)the magistrates' courts committees for the area; and

(c)every relevant authority whose area includes all or any part of the magistrates' courts committee area.

(5)For the purposes of subsection (4) above, an order shall be taken to implement proposals if it implements them without changes or any departures from the proposals do not, in the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, effect important changes in the proposals.

(6)An order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area may contain such consequential and transitional provisions as appear to the Lord Chancellor to be necessary or expedient, including—

(a)provision for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities;

(b)provision for the management or custody of transferred property (whether real or personal); and

(c)provision for any magistrates' courts committee coming into existence by virtue of the order to be constituted under section 30 below as a body corporate, and to incur liabilities, before the date on which the functions of any magistrates' courts committee are transferred to it.

(7)The Lord Chancellor may give directions with respect to convening the first meeting of a magistrates' courts committee coming into existence by virtue of an order under section 27A(2) above.

(8)A statutory instrument containing an order under section 27A(2) above which makes an alteration of any area shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(9)In this section references to the alteration of a magistrates' courts committee area include (as well as a change in the boundaries of the area)—

(a)the combination of the area with another magistrates' courts committee area; and

(b)the division of the area between two or more magistrates' courts committee areas.

(10)In this section “relevant authority” means—

(a)a county council;

(b)a county borough council; or

(c)the council of a unitary district.

82Constitution of committees outside Greater London

For sections 28 to 30 of the [1997 c. 25.] Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (constitution of magistrates' courts committees) substitute—

28Constitution of committees

(1)A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall, subject to subsection (2) below, be composed of justices of the peace for the area to which the committee relates, chosen in accordance with regulations under section 29 below.

(2)Such a magistrates' courts committee may also include persons (who need not be justices of the peace)—

(a)co-opted by the committee with the approval of the Lord Chancellor; or

(b)appointed by the Lord Chancellor.

29Regulations about committees

(1)The Lord Chancellor may by statutory instrument make general regulations about the constitution, procedure and quorum of magistrates' courts committees for areas outside Greater London; but any such regulations shall have effect subject to the provisions of section 28 above.

(2)The regulations shall provide for the members referred to in section 28(1) above to be chosen by a selection panel constituted in accordance with the regulations.

(3)The regulations may—

(a)lay down an upper limit for the number of members of a magistrates' courts committee (inclusive of the members referred to in subsection (2) of section 28 above); and

(b)enable the Lord Chancellor to direct that, in relation to any magistrates' courts committee to which the direction is given, any members co-opted or appointed under that subsection are to be left out of account in applying the upper limit.

(4)The regulations may make provision for the payment of remuneration to members of a magistrates' courts committee co-opted or appointed under section 28(2) above.

(5)The regulations may make different provision in relation to magistrates' courts committees for different areas.

(6)The regulations may also make provision with respect to the persons (other than the members, clerks and officers of the committee) who may be entitled to attend the meetings of a magistrates' courts committee and the rights of such persons to make representations to the committee.

(7)A statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provisions) regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

30Supplementary provisions about committees

(1)A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall appoint one of their members to be chairman of the committee.

(2)Where the magistrates for a petty sessions area are required to meet for the purpose of carrying out any functions under section 29 above, a meeting shall be convened by the magistrates' courts committee or, if there is no such committee or the Lord Chancellor considers it appropriate, by the Lord Chancellor.

(3)A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London may act through sub-committees appointed by them which, if they include at least one member of the committee, may also include persons who are not members.

(4)Such a magistrates' courts committee may also arrange for the discharge of any of their functions—

(a)by the chairman of the committee; or

(b)by the justices' chief executive.

(5)Subject to the provisions of this Act, a magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall have power to regulate their own procedure, including quorum.

(6)A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall be a body corporate.

(7)A magistrates' courts committee for an area outside Greater London shall, on at least one occasion in every calendar year, admit members of the public to a meeting of the committee.

(8)The minutes of proceedings of every meeting of such a magistrates' courts committee shall be open to inspection by members of the public at the offices of the committee, except to the extent that the committee determine that the minutes disclose information of a confidential nature.

(9)Copies of any minutes which are open to inspection under subsection (8) above shall be made available to the public on payment of such reasonable fee as the magistrates' courts committee may in any case determine.

(10)A magistrates' courts committee making a determination under subsection (8) above shall state their reasons for regarding the information in question as being of a confidential nature.

83Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority

(1)In the [1997 c. 25.] Justices of the Peace Act 1997, after section 30 insert—

Greater London
30AGreater London Magistrates' Courts Authority

(1)There shall be a body corporate known as the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority.

(2)The Authority shall be the magistrates' courts committee for Greater London.

30BRegulations about Authority

(1)The Lord Chancellor may by regulations made by statutory instrument make provision relating to the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority, including—

(a)provision about the membership of the Authority (including provision as to who is to chair it and about the payment of remuneration to its members); and

(b)provision about the Authority’s constitution and procedure (including quorum and meetings).

(2)A statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provisions) regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

30CProcedure of Authority

(1)The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority may, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, act through committees appointed by the Authority which, if they include at least one member of the Authority, may also include persons who are not members.

(2)The Authority may also arrange for the discharge of any of their functions—

(a)by the chairman of the Authority; or

(b)by the justices' chief executive.

(3)Subject to regulations made under this Act, the Authority shall have power to regulate their own procedure, including quorum.

Provisions applying to all magistrates' courts committees.

(2)After section 59 of that Act insert—

Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority
59AFunctions

(1)The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority shall provide such petty sessional court-houses and other accommodation, and such goods and services, as they may determine proper for the performance of the Authority’s functions and those of—

(a)the magistrates for Greater London;

(b)any committee of the magistrates for Greater London; and

(c)the justices' clerks for any part of Greater London.

(2)The Authority may do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the function in subsection (1) above; but the Authority may not borrow money except insofar as authorised by any other enactment to do so.

59BFunding

(1)The Lord Chancellor may pay grants to the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority in respect of the Authority’s expenditure.

(2)Grants under this section shall be paid at such times, in such manner and subject to such conditions as the Lord Chancellor may with the concurrence of the Treasury determine.

(3)Each London local authority shall pay to the Authority such amount in respect of—

(a)any kind of the Authority’s expenditure in any year; or

(b)if less, such amount as may, in relation to that kind of expenditure and that year, be for the time being determined by the Lord Chancellor,

as may be determined in accordance with regulations made by the Lord Chancellor by statutory instrument.

(4)The Lord Chancellor may by regulations made by statutory instrument make provision as to the making of payments under subsection (3) above, including provision—

(a)as to whether payments are to be made by instalments or otherwise;

(b)as to the time when payments are to be made;

(c)conferring a right to interest on anything unpaid; and

(d)permitting a London local authority to anticipate a payment under this section when making calculations in accordance with section 32 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (originally or by way of substitute).

(5)The Lord Chancellor may with the consent of the Treasury make provision by regulations made by statutory instrument as to how any kind of the Authority’s expenditure is to be determined.

(6)Subject to any such regulations, the Lord Chancellor may direct that in determining any kind of the Authority’s expenditure there shall be taken into account or disregarded, to such extent as may be specified in the direction, such items as may be so specified.

(7)A statutory instrument containing regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(8)In this section “London local authority” means the council of any London borough or the Common Council of the City of London.

59CConsultation

(1)The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority shall consult each London local authority before making any determination under section 59A(1) above or any determination as to—

(a)the salary to be paid to a justices' clerk or justices' chief executive and to staff of the Authority; or

(b)the nature and amount of the expenses which the Authority may incur in the discharge of their functions or may authorise to be incurred.

(2)Any London local authority which is aggrieved by such a determination may, within one month from the receipt by the London local authority of written notice of the determination, appeal to the Lord Chancellor, whose decision shall be binding upon the Authority and the London local authority concerned.

(3)In this section, “London local authority” has the same meaning as in section 59B above.

59DAccounting

(1)The Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority shall keep a fund to be known as the GLMCA fund.

(2)All the Authority’s receipts shall be paid into the GLMCA fund and all the Authority’s expenditure shall be paid out of it.

(3)The Authority shall—

(a)keep accounts of payments made into or out of the GLMCA fund; and

(b)make arrangements for the proper administration of their financial affairs.

(4)The Lord Chancellor may by regulations made by statutory instrument make provision applying—

(a)Part VIII of the [1988 c. 41.] Local Government Finance Act 1988 (financial administration); and

(b)Part II of the [1998 c. 18.] Audit Commission Act 1998 (accounts and audit of public bodies),

to the Authority, with or without modifications and exceptions.

(5)A statutory instrument containing regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

Provisions applying to all magistrates' courts committees.

(3)Schedule 12 (which makes provision supplementary to this section) shall have effect.

84Standard goods and services

(1)Part VI of the [1997c. 25.] Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (administrative and financial arrangements) has effect subject to the following amendments.

(2)After section 59D and the heading after that section (inserted by section 83 above) insert—

59EStandard goods and services

(1)The Lord Chancellor may by statutory instrument make regulations requiring every magistrates' courts committee, or every specified magistrates' courts committee, to obtain for the performance of any function referred to in section 55(1) or 59A(1) above—

(a)specified goods or services; or

(b)goods or services of a specified description,

if he considers that it would be in the interests of the efficient and effective administration of magistrates' courts generally for them to do so.

(2)Regulations made by virtue of subsection (1) above may include provision requiring magistrates' courts committees to obtain the specified goods or services, or goods or services of the specified description—

(a)from a specified person or person of a specified description;

(b)at or by a specified time; or

(c)both from such a person and at or by such a time.

(3)A statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provisions) regulations made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(3)In section 55(2) (case where paying authority is not required to provide goods and services to magistrates' courts committee), after “or authorities” insert

(a)to provide any goods or services which regulations made by virtue of section 59E(2) below require the magistrates' courts committee to obtain otherwise than from that authority or any of those authorities; or

(b).

(4)After subsection (1) of section 56 (which specifies that, subject to the provisions of that section, the goods and services to be provided by a paying authority are to be determined by the magistrates' courts committee) insert—

(1A)Subsection (1) above does not apply to the extent that regulations made by virtue of section 59E below have the effect of precluding a determination as to any of the matters mentioned in that subsection.

85Power to direct implementation of inspectors' recommendations

In section 62 of the [1997 c. 25.] Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (inspectors of the magistrates' courts service), after subsection (4) insert—

(4A)If pursuant to this section a recommendation is made for the taking of any action by a magistrates' courts committee, the Lord Chancellor may give a direction requiring the committee to take the recommended action within a period specified in the direction.

86Code of conduct

In the Justices of the Peace Act 1997, after section 39 insert—

39ACode of conduct for members etc

(1)The Lord Chancellor may prepare a code of conduct to be observed by—

(a)members of magistrates' courts committees; and

(b)members of selection panels for choosing members of such committees.

(2)The Lord Chancellor may from time to time prepare a revised version of the code.

(3)Before preparing the code or a revised version of the code the Lord Chancellor shall undertake such consultation as appears to him to be appropriate.

(4)The code, and any revised version of the code, shall come into force as provided by an order made by the Lord Chancellor by statutory instrument; and an order providing for the coming into force of the code or a revised version shall set out the code or revised version.

(5)A statutory instrument containing an order made by virtue of subsection (4) above shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

39BNon-compliance with code

(1)The Lord Chancellor may make an order under subsection (2) below if he is of the opinion that—

(a)a member of a magistrates' courts committee; or

(b)a member of a selection panel for choosing members of such a committee,

has, without reasonable excuse, failed to observe the code.

(2)An order under this subsection shall state that the Lord Chancellor is of the opinion mentioned in subsection (1) above and may provide either or both of the following—

(a)that, on the making of the order, the person is to cease to be a member of the committee or selection panel concerned or to cease to be such a member for a specified period; or

(b)that, for a specified period, the person may not be appointed (or co-opted) as a member of any magistrates' courts committee or any selection panel for choosing members of such a committee.

(3)The Lord Chancellor may by regulations made by statutory instrument make provision for the purpose of establishing whether persons have failed to observe the code.

(4)A statutory instrument containing regulations made by virtue of subsection (3) above shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

You have chosen to open The Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open The Whole Act as a PDF

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open the Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open Schedules only

The Schedules you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Show Explanatory Notes for Sections: Displays relevant parts of the explanatory notes interweaved within the legislation content.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources