The Crime and Courts Act 2013 will bring major reforms to the criminal and civil justice systems. The act is divided into 3 parts.
In the Queen’s Speech of 9 May 2012, Her Majesty The Queen announced that the government would bring forward the Crime and Courts Bill in the 2nd parliamentary session and the bill was introduced into the House of Lords on 10 May 2012. Following the bill’s successful parliamentary passage, the bill received royal assent on 25 April 2013.
The Crime and Courts Act 2013 is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 establishes the National Crime Agency, which will enhance the national response to serious, organised and complex crime. Part 2 contains various provisions modernising the courts and tribunals system, establishing a new system for exemplary damages and costs and who they will apply too, reforming the community sentencing framework, providing additional safeguards in the UK’s extradition arrangements, amending the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, establishing Deferred Prosecuting Agreements as a new tool to tackle economic crime and other provisions in relation the administration of justice. Part 3 contains provisions in relation to border control, the immigration appeal system, public order offences and a new drug driving offence which will improve road safety.
Crime and Courts Act 2013 and accompanying Explanatory Notes are available on the Parliament website.
What will the Crime and Courts Act do?
The act will bring major reforms to the criminal and civil justice systems.
Part 1: the National Crime Agency
Part 1 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 establishing the National Crime Agency to prevent and investigate serious, organised and complex crime (including the importation/supply of drugs and firearms; human trafficking; sexual abuse; exploitation of children; and tackling cybercrime).
Part 2: courts and justice
Part 2 of the Crime and Courts Act will, among other things:
- create a single county court and single family court to increase the efficiency of the civil and family court systems in England and Wales
- expand the jurisdiction of the youth court to deal gang-related injunctions
- reform the judicial appointments process to promote greater transparency and improve judicial diversity
- introduce flexible judicial deployment to allow judges to move between courts and tribunals
- provide for immigration and nationality judicial reviews to be transferred from the High Court to the Upper Tribunal
- reform the regulation of the Bar and barristers
- provide vulnerable debtors with additional protection from rogue bailiffs, while allowing legitimate creditors to effective recover debt
- increase the efficiency of fines collection by providing incentives for early payment and compliance, so that, in the event of a default, the offender will be charged the cost incurred for collecting their fine not the taxpayer
- establish information sharing gateways with certain government departments to allow fines support officer to effectively enforce financial penalties
- establish a specific information sharing gateway that will allow eligibility for certain court and tribunal fee remissions to be checked electronically
- amend the appointment process for the Chief Executive of the UK Supreme Court;
- enable the introduction, in limited circumstances, of court broadcasting to help demystify the justice system
- abolish the offence of scandalising the judiciary
- as part of the Leveson Reforms, establish a new system for exemplary damages and costs and who they will apply too
- amend the law on self-defense to provide additional protection to householders who are confronted by a trespasser
- overhaul the community sentencing framework to ensure each order contains a punitive element, while allowing sentencing to be deferred for restorative activities to take place
- establish Deferred Prosecution Agreements as a new tool to tackle economic crime
- amend the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
- provide additional safeguards in the UK’s extradition arrangements
Part 3: miscellaneous and general
Part 3 of the Crime and Courts Act will, among other things:
- remove the full appeal right for family visa visit cases and in-country appeal rights from individuals excluded from the UK by the Home Secretary
- remove an appellant’s in-country right of appeal where the Secretary of State certifies that removal of an appellant prior to an appeal against the making of a deportation order being exhausted would not breach the UK’s obligations under the ECHR
- strengthen the powers of immigration officers to tackle serious and organised immigration-related crime
- introduce a new offence of driving, or being in a charge of, a motor vehicle with concentrations of specified controlled substances in excess of specified levels
- remove the ‘insulting’ limb of section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986
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