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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 Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs) 2:45 pm, 1st July 2003

The hon. Gentleman says that things are not what they used to be. To quote from one of the Labour party's slogans, things can only get better, and we intend to pursue that aim.

I am sorry to say to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath that his amendment does not add anything to the meaning of the clause. I am unclear what he intends the word ''currently'' to mean. Does it mean the date of Royal Assent, when the clause can be enforced, or when the reader is looking at it? That is a bit of pedantry that I can throw back at him.

Amendments Nos. 41 and 43 similarly seek to delete the second instance of the word ''to''—how one pronounces it depends on the part of the country from which one comes—from the phrase

''to be done by, to or before a single justice''.

The Government feel that that makes no discernible improvement to the wording taken from the Justices of the Peace Act 1997, which has stood the test of time since it was implemented. Apparently, the phrase

''by, to or before''

a person is not uncommon in legislation. It appears, for example, in the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 and the Charities Act 1993.