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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Section 152 and Schedule 18: Criminal Defence Service: enforcement of order to pay cost of representation

688.Section 152 amends sections 17 and 17A of the Access to Justice Act 1999. It also introduces Schedule 18 which inserts new Schedule 3A into that Act.

689.Subsection (2) inserts new subsection (4) and (5) into section 17 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 to set out particular matters that may be provided for by regulations on the enforcement of recovery of defence costs orders.

690.Such regulations may provide for the addition of the costs of enforcing liability under a recovery of defence costs order to the amount which is unpaid and, for this purpose new subsection (5) adds a definition of “overdue sum”.

691.Under new subsection (4) regulations will be able to provide that overdue sums are recoverable summarily as a civil debt, that is to say through magistrates’ courts in accordance with the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980. The regulations will also be able to provide that overdue sums are recoverable, if a county court or the High Court so orders on the application of the person owed the sums, as if they were payable under an order of that court in accordance with rule 70.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules (The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 3) Rules 2008, SI 2008/3327), thereby making it unnecessary to begin fresh proceedings in respect of the debt.

692.Subsection (3) inserts new subsections (2A) to (2E) into section 17A of the Access to Justice Act 1999. New subsection (2A) provides, as for recovery of defence costs orders, that enforcement regulations may add the costs of enforcing liability under a contribution order to the amount which is unpaid, and in addition that any overdue sums are recoverable summarily as a civil debt or recoverable, if a county court or the High Court so orders, as if they were payable under an order of that court. Enforcement regulations may also provide for the withdrawal of an individual’s right to representation in certain circumstances and may empower courts to make motor vehicle orders. These are defined in new subsection (2B) of section 17A as clamping orders and vehicle sale orders, which are themselves defined in new subsections (2C) and (2D) of section 17A. Under a vehicle sale order a motor vehicle which has been fitted with an immobilization device in accordance with enforcement regulations may be sold and the proceeds of sale applied in paying the overdue sum. Subsection (4) inserts new Schedule 3A to the Access to Justice Act 1999.

693.New Schedule 3A sets out further provisions relating to motor vehicle orders. Paragraph 2 of new Schedule 3A states that enforcement regulations may in particular make provision for the procedure for making an order, what matters must be included in the order, the fitting of clamping devices and notices to motor vehicles, the removal and storage of motor vehicles, the release of the clamp or the motor vehicle from storage, the conditions which need to be met before the release, sale or other disposal of an unreleased motor vehicle, the imposition of charges in connection with any of the above and the recovery of such charges.

694.Paragraph 3 of new Schedule 3A requires enforcement regulations to provide that a motor vehicle order may be made only on the application of the person or body to which the overdue sum is owed (in practice this is likely to be the LSC).

695.Before a clamping order is made the court must be satisfied (paragraph 4 of new Schedule 3A) that the person has wilfully refused or culpably neglected to pay and that the value of the motor vehicle, if sold, would be likely to be an amount which exceeds half of the estimated recoverable amount. The estimated recoverable amount is the combined total of the amount of the overdue sum and the amount of charges likely to be due under the enforcement regulations.

696.Enforcement regulations must also provide (paragraph 5 of new Schedule 3A) that a clamping order may be made only in relation to a vehicle which is owned by the individual liable to pay the overdue sum. A clamping order may not be made in relation to a vehicle used by a disabled person (paragraph 6 of new Schedule 3A).

697.Paragraph 7 of new Schedule 3A provides that enforcement regulations must also state that no vehicle sale order may be made in respect of the vehicle before the end of a specified period.

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