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Constitutional Reform Act 2005

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Chapter 1Appointments

Disclosure of information to Commission

123Disclosure of information to the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission

(1)The Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (c. 26) (“the 2002 Act”) is amended as follows.

(2)After section 5 of the 2002 Act insert—

5ADisclosure of information to the Commission

(1)Information which is held by or on behalf of a permitted person (whether obtained before or after this section comes into force) may be disclosed to the Commission or a committee of the Commission for the purposes of selection under section 5.

(2)A disclosure under this section is not to be taken to breach any restriction on the disclosure of information (however imposed).

(3)But nothing in this section authorises the making of a disclosure—

(a)which contravenes the Data Protection Act 1998, or

(b)which is prohibited by Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

(4)This section does not affect a power to disclose which exists apart from this section.

(5)The following are permitted persons—

(a)a chief officer of police of a police force in England and Wales;

(b)a chief constable of a police force in Scotland;

(c)the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland;

(d)the Director General of the National Criminal Intelligence Service;

(e)the Director General of the National Crime Squad;

(f)the Commissioners of Inland Revenue;

(g)the Commissioners of Customs and Excise.

(6)The Lord Chancellor may by order designate as permitted persons other persons who exercise functions which he considers are of a public nature (including a body or person discharging regulatory functions in relation to any description of activities).

(7)Information must not be disclosed under this section on behalf of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or on behalf of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise unless the Commissioners concerned authorise the disclosure.

(8)The power to authorise a disclosure under subsection (7) may be delegated (either generally or for a specific purpose)—

(a)in the case of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, to an officer of the Board of Inland Revenue,

(b)in the case of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, to a customs officer.

(9)For the purposes of this section a customs officer is a person commissioned by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise under section 6(3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

Ombudsman

124Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman

(1)The italic cross-heading before section 9 of the 2002 Act is omitted.

(2)After that section insert—

The Ombudsman
9AJudicial Appointments Ombudsman

(1)There is to be a Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman.

(2)The Ombudsman is appointed by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.

(3)Schedule 3A makes further provision about the Ombudsman.

(3)Schedule 15 inserts Schedule 3A to the 2002 Act.

Complaints and references

125Complaints: interpretation

After section 9A of the 2002 Act insert—

9BComplaints: interpretation

(1)This section applies for the purposes of this Part.

(2)A Commission complaint is a complaint by a qualifying complainant of maladministration by the Commission or a committee of the Commission.

(3)A departmental complaint is a complaint by a qualifying complainant of maladministration by the Lord Chancellor or the Northern Ireland Court Service in connection with any of the following—

(a)recommendation for or appointment to a listed judicial office;

(b)appointment under section 2 of the Taxes Management Act 1970 as a Commissioner for the general purposes of the income tax for Northern Ireland.

(4)A qualifying complainant is a complainant who claims to have been adversely affected, as an applicant for selection or as a person selected under this Part, by the maladministration complained of.

126Complaints to the Commission or the Lord Chancellor

After section 9B of the 2002 Act insert—

9CComplaints to the Commission or the Lord Chancellor

(1)The Commission must make arrangements for investigating any Commission complaint made to it.

(2)The Lord Chancellor must make arrangements for investigating any departmental complaint made to him.

(3)Arrangements under this section need not apply to a complaint made more than 28 days after the matter complained of.

127Complaints to the Ombudsman

After section 9C of the 2002 Act insert—

9DComplaints to the Ombudsman

(1)Subsections (2) and (3) apply to a complaint which the complainant—

(a)has made to the Commission or Lord Chancellor in accordance with arrangements under section 9C, and

(b)makes to the Ombudsman not more than 28 days after being notified of the Commission’s or Lord Chancellor’s decision on the complaint.

(2)If the Ombudsman considers that investigation of the complaint is not necessary, he must inform the complainant.

(3)Otherwise he must investigate the complaint.

(4)The Ombudsman may investigate a complaint which the complainant—

(a)has made to the Commission or the Lord Chancellor in accordance with arrangements under section 9C, and

(b)makes to the Ombudsman at any time.

(5)The Ombudsman may investigate a transferred complaint made to him, and no such complaint may be made under the Judicial Appointments Order after the commencement of this section.

(6)The Judicial Appointments Order is the Judicial Appointments Order in Council 2001, which sets out the functions of Her Majesty’s Commissioners for Judicial Appointments.

(7)A transferred complaint is a complaint that lay to those Commissioners (whether or not it was made to them) in respect of the application of procedures for appointment to listed judicial offices before the commencement of this section, but not a complaint that those Commissioners had declined to investigate or on which they had concluded their investigation.

(8)Any complaint to the Ombudsman under this section must be in a form approved by him.

128Report and recommendations

After section 9D of the 2002 Act insert—

9EReport and recommendations

(1)The Ombudsman must prepare a report on any complaint he has investigated under section 9D.

(2)The report must state—

(a)what findings the Ombudsman has made;

(b)whether he considers the complaint should be upheld in whole or part;

(c)if he does, what if any action he recommends should be taken by the Commission or the Lord Chancellor as a result of the complaint.

(3)The recommendations that may be made under subsection (2)(c) include recommendations for the payment of compensation.

(4)Such a recommendation must relate to loss which appears to the Ombudsman to have been suffered by the complainant as a result of maladministration and not as a result of any failure to be appointed to an office to which the complaint related.

129Report procedure

After section 9E of the 2002 Act insert—

9FReport procedure

(1)This section applies to a report under section 9E.

(2)The Ombudsman must submit a draft of the report—

(a)to the Lord Chancellor, and

(b)if the complaint was a Commission complaint, to the Commission.

(3)In finalising the report the Ombudsman—

(a)must have regard to any proposal by the Lord Chancellor or the Commission for changes in the draft report;

(b)must include in the report a statement of any such proposal not given effect to.

(4)The report must be signed by the Ombudsman.

(5)If the complaint was a Commission complaint the Ombudsman must send the report in duplicate to the Lord Chancellor and the Commission.

(6)Otherwise the Ombudsman must send the report to the Lord Chancellor.

(7)The Ombudsman must send a copy of the report to the complainant, but that copy must not include information—

(a)which relates to an identified or identifiable individual other than the complainant, and

(b)whose disclosure by the Ombudsman to the complainant would (apart from this subsection) be contrary to section 9I.

130References by the Lord Chancellor

After section 9F of the 2002 Act insert—

9GReferences by the Lord Chancellor

(1)If the Lord Chancellor refers to the Ombudsman any matter relating to the procedures of the Commission or a committee of the Commission, the Ombudsman must investigate it.

(2)The matter may relate to such procedures generally or in a particular case.

(3)The Ombudsman must report to the Lord Chancellor on any investigation under this section.

(4)The report must state—

(a)what findings the Ombudsman has made;

(b)what if any action he recommends should be taken by any person in relation to the matter.

(5)The report must be signed by the Ombudsman.

131Information

After section 9G of the 2002 Act insert—

9HInformation

The Commission and the Lord Chancellor must provide the Ombudsman with such information as he may reasonably require relating to the subject matter of an investigation under section 9D or 9G.

132Confidentiality in relation to judicial appointments and discipline

After section 9H of the 2002 Act insert—

9IConfidentiality in relation to judicial appointments and discipline

(1)A person who obtains confidential information, or to whom confidential information is provided, under or for the purposes of a relevant provision must not disclose it except with lawful authority.

(2)These are the relevant provisions—

(a)section 12, 12A and 12B of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (appointment and removal of Lord Chief Justice, Lords Justices of Appeal and judges of High Court);

(b)sections 3, 5, 7 and 9 to 9H of this Act (appointment and removal of judicial officers, and appointment and removal of lay magistrates);

(c)sections 134 and 135 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (removal from judicial offices);

(d)section 16 of this Act (complaints about judicial officers);

(3)Information is confidential if it relates to an identified or identifiable individual (a “subject”).

(4)Confidential information is disclosed with lawful authority only if and to the extent that any of the following applies—

(a)the disclosure is with the consent of each person who is a subject of the information (but this is subject to subsection (5));

(b)the disclosure is for (and is necessary for) the exercise by any person of functions under a relevant provision or a decision whether to exercise them;

(c)the disclosure is required, under rules of court or a court order, for the purposes of legal proceedings of any description.

(5)An opinion or other information given by one identified or identifiable individual (A) about another (B)—

(a)is information that relates to both;

(b)must not be disclosed to B without A’s consent.

(6)This section does not prevent the disclosure with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of information as to disciplinary action taken in accordance with a relevant provision.

(7)This section does not prevent the disclosure of information which is already, or has previously been, available to the public from other sources.

(8)A contravention of this section in respect of any information is actionable, subject to the defences and other incidents applying to actions for breach of statutory duty.

(9)But it is actionable only at the suit of a person who is a subject of the information.

Transfer of functions of justices of the peace

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