Clause 29 - Service of notices

Criminal Justice and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 1st March 2001.

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Photo of Mr David Lock Mr David Lock Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department 10:30 am, 1st March 2001

I beg to move amendment No. 122, in page 23, line 24, leave out `a copy of'.

This is an entirely technical amendment. Under subsection (6), a document that is to be served under clauses 21 to 28

``shall be taken to be duly served if a copy of it is fixed in a conspicuous position on the premises which are alleged to have been used for the unlicensed sale of'' alcohol. To constitute proper service, there is no doubt that the document itself, rather than a copy, should be so affixed. The amendment is designed to assist those against whom this offence is directed, and I commend it to the Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Does the service of notice procedure in the Bill differ from current law? I have neither the time nor the resources to establish whether the clause will vary that procedure, so if there is a difference I should be grateful if the Parliamentary Secretary would explain what it is. If the procedure is exactly the same as under current law, it is clearly uncontroversial.

Photo of Mr David Lock Mr David Lock Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

The provisions for service depend on the precise circumstance in which a document is served. For example, service on an individual differs from service on premises, which is modelled on the City of Westminster Act. I am not aware of any way in which these provisions differ from other provisions of service that are customarily expected, so I do not consider them controversial.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I am prepared to accept that. Given that I gave no notice of my question, I should be grateful if the Parliamentary Secretary would ask his officials to check on this matter. As I have repeatedly said, if people are not to be caught out by technicalities, the law must be as consistent and clear as possible. We do not want to give further work to lawyers—to use the Parliamentary Secretary's phrase—by requiring them to establish whether there was service and whether people knew there was service. We must ensure that the procedures are streamlined, common and collectively similar and will apply common time limits, regardless of whether the notice is being served on an offending pub, amusement arcade, sex shop or anything else.

Photo of Mr David Lock Mr David Lock Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

The point is well made and I shall ensure that my officials look carefully at what I have said when it is published in Hansard. If there is any way in which my comments can be amplified or clarified, I shall write to the hon. Gentleman and provide copies for other relevant members of the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 29, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 30 ordered to stand part of the Bill.