Amendment 127

Part of Victims and Prisoners Bill - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords am 6:45 pm ar 13 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Chair, Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee), Chair, Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee), Chair, Arbitration Bill [HL] Special Public Bill Committee, Chair, Arbitration Bill [HL] Special Public Bill Committee 6:45, 13 Chwefror 2024

I support the amendment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope. There can be no disputing that independence is key, and it would be very sensible if the Bill was slightly amended to refer to the independent standing advocate, or something of that kind. Independence not being in dispute, the issue is how to safeguard it. Normally, independence is achieved by three things: the first is a process of appointment, which we have already discussed; the second is the provision of resources—again, that has been raised but I am not sure whether it has been entirely dealt with; the third, and most critical, is removal. It seems to me that that is what this amendment is concerned with.

There are two ways of removing to ensure independence: one is to specify the grounds in the Bill, while the other is to derive an independent process. One or the other will work. There are all kinds of processes, such as an independent parliamentary process or an independent tribunal. But bearing in mind the uniqueness of this post, it may be best to look at specifying in the Bill the grounds for removal. That is a matter for discussion and debate.

I do not wish to add anything about Amendment 129, save to support it, but I would add one observation on Amendment 132. It is critical to show that everything is open, and that if the standing advocate is to issue guidance, such guidance is made public. We do not want, in this area, questions relating to what is going on without the victims having full confidence.