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Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

Section 46: Functions of Chief Inspector

83.This section lists the organisations in respect of which the Chief Inspector must conduct inspections. The Chief Inspector will be responsible for ensuring the inspection of all aspects of the criminal justice system, excluding the courts. However, he must not conduct inspections of organisations if he is satisfied that the organisation is already subject to adequate inspection, for example, by bodies such as Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (subsection (2)).

84.The Chief Inspector may inspect the activities of the organisations listed. He may also inspect any institutions provided or managed by them. This would allow him to inspect prisons, young offenders centres, juvenile justice centres, secure accommodation provided for the purpose of custody care orders (as to which see section 56) and attendance centres. Subsections (1)(h) and (4) allow the Chief Inspector to inspect other organisations providing juvenile justice centres or attendance centres but only in respect of those activities. For example, the Secretary of State has entered into an arrangement under Article 50(2) of the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/1504 (NI 9)) (the “1998 Order”) with the Young Men’s Christian Association (“YMCA”) in Belfast whereby the YMCA provides an attendance centre. By virtue of subsection (4) the Chief Inspector may only inspect the activities of the YMCA in so far as they relate to attendance centres. Similarly, subsection (5) ensures that any inspection of a Health and Social Services Board or Trust may only deal with the activities related to keeping children in secure accommodation, where the court has made the young person the subject of a custody care order (see section 56).

85.Subsection (6) provides for the Secretary of State to change the list of organisations, by adding, removing, or changing the description of organisations on the list. This would be done by order. As the courts are not within the remit of the Chief Inspector, paragraph (a) makes it clear that courts or tribunals cannot be added to the list.

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