Criminal Justice Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 30th October 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Mayhew of Twysden Lord Mayhew of Twysden Conservative 5:30 pm, 30th October 2003

My Lords, I should like to focus a little more closely on the practical consequences of leaving in subsection (6). I support the amendment.

Two principles are engaged, in addition to the broad principle on which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, has based his amendment. The first principle is that public faith, once pledged, should not be broken. The second is that legitimate expectations that have been occasioned by government action or the action of Parliament should not be frustrated. Those are two important principles which I have always understood that successive governments have sought to apply. The second is an application of the first, and is one of the fundamental criteria for judicial review.

Lest it be thought that no practical circumstances are engaged here and that it is all a matter of constitutional or jurisprudential nicety, I suggest the following case. If I commit an offence, I am entitled to suppose that, once acquitted, that is going to be that. Having got the little problem of the prosecution out of the way, I am perfectly entitled to suppose that that will be it and that I can make my arrangements for housing, employment and my finances accordingly. Now it is proposed that a second bite of the cherry shall, in some circumstances, be allowed the prosecution. Those expectations, on the basis of which I have changed and perhaps worsened my position, will be frustrated. That is the practical consequence of what is achieved by the subsection. To avoid it is the very proper purpose of the amendment, which I support.