Reimbursement of Public Funds by Contributions

Orders of the Day — Legal Aid Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 11:45 pm on 4th July 1988.

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Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers) 11:45 pm, 4th July 1988

I beg to move amendment No. 2, in page 19, line 1, leave out subsection (8).

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 3 to 11.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

These amendments are largely technical. They are drafting amendments designed to clarify the relationship between the costs provisions of this part of the Bill and those of part II of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, with particular reference to the treatment of contributions. The amendments remove what on further examination has been seen to be unnecessary duplication of the 1985 Act.

In relation to contributions, the amendments clarify both the proper area of operation of clause 23(9), which deals with repayment of contributions in particular circumstances, and the application of that subsection to the situation governed by clause 26, where green form costs are to be treated as part of the costs of representation under this part of the Bill. The amendments also ensure that, while the inter partes costs of an assisted person will not be reduced on account of any contribution, his contribution will not be included in his costs for the purposes of any central funds order.

That is clearly right, because where the court has power to order the remission or repayment of contribution to a successful assisted person, but where the court chooses not to exercise that discretion in the assisted person's favour—for example, where he is acquitted on a technicality or has failed to give notice of an alibi offence—it would be wrong for there to be any backdoor alternative method of discovery by means of any order from central funds. The availability of central funds to cover the assisted person's out-of-pocket expenses is, of course, unaffected by the amendments. I commend them to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 3, in page 19, line 10, at end insert `where sums due under the order for costs are paid to the Board or the Lord Chancellor under section 20(2) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (recovery regulations)—'.

No. 4, in page 19, line 11, leave out from 'sums' to `subsection' in line 12 and insert `so paid'.

No. 5, in page 19, line 14, leave out from 'sums' to `subsection' in line 15 and insert `so paid'.

No. 6, in page 19, line 17, leave out subsection (10) and insert— '(10) References in subsection (9) above to the costs of representation include any charge or fee treated as part of those costs by section 26(2).'.—[The Solicitor-General.]