Clause 44 - Appeal to Court of Appeal

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:45 am ar 29 Tachwedd 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:45, 29 Tachwedd 2001

I agree wholeheartedly that it is a shame that we did not manage to discuss clause 32. However, I remind the hon. Gentleman that we had extensive discussions about the timetable motion, and that there is a great desire on the Government side of the Committee to take on board any knowledge that he can bring to our proceedings that helps to improve the legislation. If he could have a word with his Whip, that might be helpful, as the Committee might then be able to scrutinise the Bill better, and we might wind up with better legislation. But if he plays the game of deliberately preventing the timetable motion from working, we will not be able to debate important clauses, and he will not have the chance to discuss those issues. His complaint should be made in a different direction.

There is a general right of appeal against any order of the High Court, under section 16 of the Supreme Court Act 1981. It applies to restraint orders made by the High Court at present, and orders ancillary to them. However, the general right of appeal in the 1981 Act does not apply to the Crown court. It has therefore been necessary to create a specific right of appeal in the Bill in relation to restraint orders made, or not made, by the Crown court.

As the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland rightly points out in referring to his amendment that was not selected, there is no right of appeal against a Crown court's decision to make a restraint order. The appeal lies only against the Crown court's decision to vary or discharge an order, or not to do so. A person who is dissatisfied with a restraint order can in the first instance apply to the Crown court for its variation, and subsequently, if he is unhappy with the refusal to vary it, appeal against that decision. I do not know why the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland regards that as a big problem. We would have thought that it was most sensible to specify that the Crown court is the place for people to request a variation with a right to appeal against the Crown court's refusal to make a variation, rather than automatically kicking the right of appeal.