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Clause 28 - Functions

Part of Courts Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 1st July 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 2:45 pm, 1st July 2003

I admit to the Committee that I am being pedantic in this group of amendments and I make no apology for that. The clause begins by stating:

''Rules may make provision enabling things authorised to be done by''.

When I read that, I thought that it was not the wording that I normally see in a Bill that will become an Act of Parliament. The word ''things'' is ugly in such legislation. Therefore, I tabled a group of amendments to change it, so that we have the wording that we are more used to seeing in Bills and Acts. I also felt that it was unusual for the Bill to suggest that things would be done ''to a single justice'', and that it was better to have matters being dealt with ''before'' single justices or benches of magistrates.

I hope that Committee members will understand where I am coming from. With great respect to the parliamentary counsel who drafted this Bill, I genuinely believe that it would look more fitting if we referred to ''matters'' rather than ''things''.

However, one amendment in this group is of slightly more substance than the others—amendment No. 45. [Interruption.] I have just checked my notes.

Amendment No. 45 has not been selected, so I cannot talk about it. I conclude by saying that I hope that the Minister will say that he accepts that the Opposition's phraseology is more elegant than the Government's.