Amendment to the Motion

Part of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2019 - Motion to Approve – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Ramsbotham Lord Ramsbotham Crossbench 4:00 pm, 20th May 2019

My Lords, it is as long ago as 1999 when the Better Regulation Taskforce examined the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and questioned its relevance. That was followed by an inquiry by the then Labour Government, resulting in the promise of a Bill to amend the Act, which never happened. Then LASPO, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, included some amendments, since when the Law Commission, the Standing Committee on Youth Justice and Unlock, the charity of which I have the honour to be president, have all raised objections to the application of the Act and the fact that it is hindering the rehabilitation of offenders.

At present, attempts at Private Members’ Bills, on which I took over from the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, have twice had two readings in recent Parliaments. However, they have stalled while an order is awaited from the Supreme Court in judging on its hearing last July for an appeal by the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice against the rulings of the High Court and the Appeal Court, which were affecting the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act in general. I suggest that, rather than propose a statutory instrument like this one, everything should be postponed until the review of the Act that the Government presumably have in mind.