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Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2013-14
The Bill was introduced to Parliament by the Justice Secretary on 5 February 2014. It will apply to England and Wales, with further provisions in the Bill covering all of the United Kingdom.
It aims to make provision about how offenders are dealt with before and after conviction.
The Bill aims to:
- Reform sentencing and criminal laws to punish serious and repeat offenders, whilst providing better protection to victims and the public.
- Modernise legislation to tackle the influence of the internet on trials by jury.
- Reduce the financial burden of court proceedings by ensuring that criminals pay towards their court cases.
- Educate those in youth custody and to give offenders the tools to turn away from crime.
The Bill is expected to gain Royal Assent by the end of 2014.
Labour have criticised the Bill for doing "nothing to punish and reform criminals or improve the confidence of victims and witnesses that justice will be served."
Similarly, Shelter have also expressed their concerns at the Bill's measures to limit judicial reviews. Chief executive, Campbell Robb, stated that "judicial review is vital for charities like Shelter in making sure that local authorities meet their legal duty to give homeless families a place to stay for the night."
The House of Commons second reading for the Bill took place on 24 February 2014. After a short debate, the Bill was read for the second time and passed to a Public Bill Committee.
The first day of committee for the Bill was held on 11 March 2014. The committee heard oral evidence from witnesses including the Officer of the Children's Commissioner, Magistrates' Association, Howard League for Penal Reform and the Criminal Justice Alliance.
The second day of committee took place on 13 March 2014. The committee heard oral evidence from witnesses including Liberty, Justice, the Public Law Project, Matrix Chambers and Mackintosh Law.
On the third day of committee (18 March 2014), the committee considered clauses 1-17 and schedule 1-3 of the Bill. Clauses 2-14, 16 and schedule 2 were agreed to. Clauses 1, 15, 17 and schedules 1 and 3 were agreed to, as amended.
Day five (25 March 2014) saw the committee consider clauses 24-46 and schedules 5-6 of the Bill. Clauses 24, 25, 27-44, 46 and schedules 5-6 were agreed to. Clause 26 and 45 were agreed to, as amended.
The sixth day of committee took place on 27 March 2014. The committee considered clauses 47-55 and schedules 7-8 of the Bill. Clauses 47-55 were agreed to. Schedules 7-8 were agreed to, as amended. New Clauses 20-21 were added to the Bill.
In the last day of committe in the Commons (1 April 2014), clauses 58, 59 and 61-63 of the Bill were agreed to, whilst clause 60 was agreed to, as amended. The Bill was subsequently reported with amendments.