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The Magistrates' Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981

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Changes over time for: Cross Heading: Protection from legal proceedings

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The Magistrates' Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981, Cross Heading: Protection from legal proceedings is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 14 July 2024. There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date. Changes that have been made appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

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Changes and effects yet to be applied to Part II Crossheading Protection-from-legal-proceedings:

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Protection from legal proceedingsN.I.

[F1Immunity of resident magistrates etc. for acts within jurisdiction.N.I.

5.  No action shall lie against any resident magistrate,[F2 lay magistrate] or clerk of petty sessions in respect of any act or omission of his—

(a)in the execution of his duty—

(i)as[F2 a resident magistrate or a lay magistrate]; or

(ii)as such a clerk exercising, by virtue of any statutory provision, any function of a magistrates' court; and

(b)with respect to any matter within his jurisdiction.]

Immunity for certain acts beyond jurisdiction.N.I.

6.  An action shall lie against any resident magistrate,[F3 lay magistrate] or clerk of petty sessions in respect of any act or omission of his—

(a)in the purported exercise of his duty—

(i)as[F3 a resident magistrate or a lay magistrate]; or

(ii)as such a clerk exercising, by virtue of any statutory provision, any function of a magistrates' court; but

(b)with respect to a matter which is not within his jurisdiction,

if, but only if, it is proved that he acted in bad faith.

[F4Costs in legal proceedingsN.I.

6A.(1) A court may not order any resident magistrate,[F5 lay magistrate] or clerk of petty sessions to pay costs in any proceedings in respect of any act or omission of his in the execution (or purported execution) of his duty—

(a)as[F5 a resident magistrate or a lay magistrate]; or

(b)as such a clerk exercising, by virtue of any statutory provision, any of the functions of a magistrates' court.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply in relation to—

(a)any proceedings in which a resident magistrate,[F5 lay magistrate] or clerk of petty sessions is being tried for an offence or is appealing against a conviction; or

(b)any proceedings in which it is proved that a resident magistrate,[F5 lay magistrate] or clerk of petty sessions acted in bad faith in respect of the matters giving rise to the proceedings.

(3) Where a court is prevented by paragraph (1) from ordering a resident magistrate,[F5 lay magistrate] or clerk of petty sessions to pay costs in any proceedings, the court may instead order the making by the Lord Chancellor of a payment in respect of the costs of a person in the proceedings.

(4) The Lord Chancellor may[F6, after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice,] by regulations specify—

(a)circumstances when a court shall or shall not exercise the power conferred on it by paragraph (3); and

(b)how the amount of any payment ordered under that paragraph is to be determined.

[F7(4A) The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland may nominate any of the following to exercise his functions under paragraph (4)—

(a)the holder of one of the offices listed in Schedule 1 to the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002;

(b)a Lord Justice of Appeal (as defined in section 88 of that Act).]

(5) Regulations under paragraph (4) shall be subject to [F8negative resolution].]

Where warrant on conviction is issued by clerk or another justiceN.I.

7.  Where a conviction or order is made by a[F9 magistrates' court] and a warrant to enforce it is signed byF10. . . a clerk of petty sessions, no action shall be brought against theF10. . . clerk who signed the warrant by reason of any lack of jurisdiction in the magistrates' court which made the conviction or order.

Acts performed pursuant to decision of High Court or on appealN.I.

8.  Para. (1) rep. by 1990 c. 41

(2) Where a warrant or other document signed by aF11. . . clerk of petty sessions is issued upon any conviction or order which is confirmed upon appeal no action shall be brought against thatF11. . . clerk in respect of anything done pursuant to the warrant or document.

Where action is prohibited proceedings may be set asideN.I.

9.  Where any action which is prohibited by this Part is commenced, the judge may, upon an application by the defendant supported by an affidavit of facts, order that the proceedings in such action be set aside with or without costs.

Defrayal by Lord Chancellor of expenses in connection with proceedingsN.I.

10.—(1) The Lord Chancellor, with the approval of the Treasury, may defray the whole or part of any expenses incurred by a resident magistrate[F12, by a lay magistrate] or by a clerk of petty sessions in, or in connection with, any proceedings or claim brought as a result of the execution, or purported execution of the office of that[F12 resident magistrate, lay magistrate] or clerk[F13 in relation to any matter other than a criminal matter] if and in so far as it appears to the Lord Chancellor to be reasonable, having regard to the circumstances, that such expenses, or part of them should not be borne by that magistrate, justice or clerk personally.

[F13(1A) The Lord Chancellor shall defray any expenses reasonably incurred by a resident magistrate[F12, by a lay magistrate] or by a clerk of petty sessions in, or in connection with, any proceedings or claim brought as a result of the execution, or purported execution, of the office of that[F12 resident magistrate, lay magistrate] or clerk in relation to any criminal matter, unless it is proved, in respect of the matters giving rise to the proceedings or claim, that he acted in bad faith.]

(2) In this Article “expenses” includes damages or costs and any sums payable in connection with a settlement of proceedings or of a claim.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1Art. 10(1): functions of Treasury or Minister for the Civil Service transferred to Department of Finance and Personnel (12.4.2010) by Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Devolution of Policing and Justice Functions) Order 2010 (S.I. 2010/976), arts. 1(2), 15(4)(f) (with arts. 15(6), 28-31); S.I. 2010/977, art. 1(2)

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