On 9th December 2014, four bishops took part in divisions on the Government’s Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, during ‘ping-pong’ between the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The amendments dealt with secure colleges and judicial review. Bishops previously voted in favour of amendments on judicial review, and details can be found here.
On 27th October 2014, four bishops took part in divisions on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, on the third day of its Report Stage. Details of the votes can be seen below.
Amendment 146 – Judicial review in the High Court and Upper Tribunal
Crossbench peer Lord Pannick moved amendment 146, which sought to soften the Government’s proposal that the High Court must refuse permission for a Judicial Review if it is ‘highly likely’ that the decision whose legality is being challenged would be unchanged even if the Review were successful.
Four bishops voted ‘content’ to this amendment. They were the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, and the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith. No bishop voted ‘not content’. There were: Contents: 247 | Not Contents: 181 | Result: Government Defeat
On Wednesday 22nd October 2014, the House of Lords debated amendments to the Government’s Criminal Justice and Courts Bill during the second day of its Report Stage.
The Rt Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, contributed to the debate on Lord Ramsbotham’s amendment 108 to the bill, which was later withdrawn. The amendment sought to ensure that no secure college for young offenders could be established until clear rules on their operation had first been agreed. The Bishop spoke in favour of the amendment, highlighting the need to provide the highest standards of education for children in young offender institutions, especially when it had often been such a lacking feature of their pasts.
On 20th October 2014 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Criminal Justice and Courts Bill during its Report Stage. Peers debated an amendment from Crossbench Peer Lord Lloyd of Berwick to Clause 10, relating to treatment of prisoners serving indeterminate sentences. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Rev James Langstaff, joined several Peers in expressing support for the amendment and he voted for its inclusion during the subsequent Division of the House.Continue reading “Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – vote on indeterminate sentences”
On 21st July 2014, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke during the Committee Stage of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. He spoke in support of an amendment to make assault on workers selling alcohol a specific criminal offence. Following the debate on the amendment, it was withdrawn without being put to a division of the House.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I have considerable sympathy for the amendment, although I wonder how it will interact with the remainder of the law on assault if this is criminalised in a specific way. I declare an interest in that I used to be a publican. When I was employed in a university, one of the members of staff had to go down to the magistrates’ court and swear that they were a fit person to keep order. That is the only time when I have been into a court of law in my life, and the magistrates were not quite sure that this young clergyman would be able to do so. My main task was to prevent the students drinking the profits rather than sorting out any brawls. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester supports amendment to Criminal Justice and Courts Bill”
“It is disturbing when the Bar Council says that when combined with other recent government measures for changing the law of judicial review, these changes, if enacted in their current form, will immunise government and other public authorities from effective legal challenge” – Bishop of Oxford, 30/6/14
On 30th June 2014, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, took part in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. During his speech, he focused on two particular areas of concern – the proper care of troubled children and the role of ‘secure colleges’ and the need for a fair and effective system of judicial review and legal aid to be available to all, regardless of their material situation.
“Powerful people have engaged in serious abuse and have worked with each other to create opportunities and share their vices and victims. As a nation we have to face up to the seriousness of institutionally based abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, which has gone on in the past and, sadly, continues today” – Bishop of Durham, 26.6.14
On 26th June 2014, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Walmsley led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the measures being taken by Her Majesty’s Government to prevent and address the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, the Church of England’s lead bishop for safeguarding, took part in the debate. He focused his remarks on needing to listen to the voice of survivors, and put forward a number of measures to reflect this need – including mandatory reporting by professionals, creating safe spaces for victims of abuse, and broadening the law to strengthen preventative measures. He concluded by calling for an independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse.Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse”