Abolition of magistrates’ courts committees
Section 6: Abolition of magistrates’ courts committees etc.
22.Since the Lord Chancellor will take over responsibility for the magistrates’ courts, there will no longer be a need for the MCCs, which perform this function at the moment. Section 6 provides for their abolition. It also abolishes the Greater London Magistrates’ Courts Authority, which is the MCC for Greater London. Section 6 also gives effect to Schedule 2, which provides for the transfer of MCC staff and property.
Schedule 2: Abolition of magistrates’ courts committees: transfers
23.Schedule 2 sets out the arrangements for the transfer of staff from MCCs and local authorities to the employment of the Lord Chancellor. It also enables the Lord Chancellor to make schemes transferring property, rights or liabilities from MCCs, local authorities and others to him or another Minister of the Crown.
24.Paragraph 11 applies the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (SI 1981/1794) (TUPE) without restriction to MCCs and will effect the transfer of MCC employees into the employment of the Lord Chancellor. Paragraph 12 applies to local authority staff. Under paragraph 12(2)(b) local authority staff who spend "a substantial part" of their time on MCC duties during the course of a year, can be transferred to the Lord Chancellor's employment; however, the ultimate decision as to whether to transfer such an employee is for the Lord Chancellor. It is intended that in practice any transfer would be subject to consultation with the individuals affected. Paragraph 14 provides that any MCC or local authority staff who are regarded as ‘aliens’ will still be eligible to transfer into the employment of the Lord Chancellor. An ‘alien’ in this context can be defined as a person who is precluded from employment in the civil service by existing legislation i.e. nationals of non-EC or non-EFTA states.
Part 2: Justices of the Peace.Summary
25.Part 2 of the Act contains a range of provisions relating to lay justices, District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts), justices’ clerks and administrative staff working in the magistrates’ courts. The most significant change is to give lay magistrates a national jurisdiction. In order to achieve the main changes, this Part rewrites existing provisions in the JPA 1997 with various adjustments.