Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY TUESDAY, 02 JULY 2013 REPORT
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 07.07.2013 (Article Archived on 04.08.2013)
A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the town Hall at 0830hrs on Tuesday, 02 July 2013.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY TUESDAY, 02 JULY 2013
A meeting of Legislative Assembly
took place in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the town Hall at 0830hrs on
Tuesday, 02 July 2013. Present were the
Speaker, Mr Keith Biles, the Chief Executive, Mr Keith Padgett, the Financial
Secretary, Mrs Nicola Granger, the Clerk of Councils Mrs Claudette Anderson
Prior, and MLAs Cheek, Edwards, Elsby, Halford, Hansen, Sawle, Short and
The meeting began with the Rev Mrs
Kathy Biles from Christ Church Cathedral saying prayers. Keith Biles bid everyone good morning and
reminded them that mobile phones should be turned off or muted.
There was only one paper lain on the Table by The Honourable the Chief
Executive -copies of Subsidiary Legislation published in the Falkland Islands
Gazette since the last sitting of the Legislative Assembly and Laid on the
Table pursuant to section 34(1) of the Interpretation and General Clauses
Ordinance 1977 – The Coins Order 2013.
Orders of the day – Bills: The Administration of Justice Amendment No 2
This Bill was presented under a certificate of urgency and needed
a first reading. The Chief Executive,
Keith Padgett, Moved that the Bill be given a first reading and the Financial
Secretary, Mrs Nicola Granger seconded the Motion.
Explanation by the Chief Executive Mr
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, earlier this year Legislative
Assembly approved an extensive series of amendments to the Administration of
Justice ordinance. Efforts were made at
the time to ensure that these amendments dealt with all the known immediate and
present issues relating to the operation of the courts of the Falkland
These efforts included seeking to engage with all the stakeholders
in the Justice System. However, in the
last fortnight, another issue has been identified which needs to be dealt with
urgently. It is because of this that
Executive Council advised the Governor to issue a certificate of urgency for
this Bill and that this special session of Legislative Assembly has been
The issue has arisen because of an on-going case which the Senior
Magistrate has been dealing with. I am
sure, Mr Speaker, that Members will understand that I cannot elaborate on the
details of the case itself. However, a
hearing will need to take place in that case while the Senior magistrate will
be out of the Islands later this month.
And other issues may arise in this case at short notice while he is
The amendments that were made earlier this year allowed for cases
to be transferred from the Magistrates’ Court to the Summary Court and also in
the other direction. However, for a
combination of reasons, this case cannot be transferred to the Summary Court. To some extent that is because of procedural
duties to do with when cases can be transferred from one Court to another. But also the nature and history of the case
means it would be inappropriate for this case to be transferred to the Summary
Court or for a Locum Senior Magistrate to be brought down.
The solution is for the Senior Magistrate to continue dealing with
the case while he is away from the Islands.
This Bill would allow the Magistrates’ Court to sit outside the Islands
in this case but also in other cases in the Future where the need arises.
The bill provides for a number of safeguards to ensure the power
is used appropriately. Firstly, the
parties to the case would normally have to be allowed to make representations
about whether a hearing takes place outside the Islands and how it is to be
conducted. In addition the Chief Justice
normally would have to approve the Senior Magistrate to hold the hearing from
outside the Islands before that can happen.
It may be helpful for Members to know that I will be moving
amendments in Committee so that the Bill also provides for evidence and
representations to be made from outside the Islands. This is in response to consultations made
within the Judiciary that were still taking place when the Bill was placed on
the Order Paper.
The Supreme Court already has a limited power to sit outside the
Falkland Islands. A balance has had to
be struck between the need for flexibility and the need to ensure that adequate
safeguards to be put in place. Balances
also had to be struck in the limited time that was available to produce this
Bill between trying to future-proof the latest amendments so that it doesn’t
deal just with the latest problem and the law with intended consequences.
I believe that these balances have been struck as far as it has been
possible to do so and I hope that members will agree.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be given a second reading.
Mrs Nicola Granger seconded the Motion. There was no debate and the Bill was read a
second time. The Bill went to the
Clauses 1 and 2 stood part of the Bill.
Clause 3 was amended by the following:
a. A new subsection 6 omitting “and” from subparagraph 1 and
adding “and” to subparagraph 2. Adding the following new subparagraph:
Subparagraph 3, “whether or not representations or evidence may be received at
the hearing from outside the Falkland Islands.”
b. Adding the new subsections:
Subsection 9, The Rules of Evidence, Practice and Procedure do not have
effect to restrict the powers of the Court by virtue of the place in which it
sits and in particular a court sitting outside the Falkland Islands may be
treated as sitting in the Falkland Islands in order to preserve its
powers. The Court sitting outside the
Falkland Islands may receive evidence or representations from outside the
There was no debate and Clause 3 as amended stood part of the
Bill. The Chief Executive then moved
that the Bill as amended be read a 3rd time and passed. The Financial Secretary, Mrs Nicola Granger,
seconded the Motion. There was no debate
and the Bill passed.
The Motion for Adjournment:
The Chief Executive moved that the House stand adjourned sine
die. The Hon Mr Dick Sawle seconded the
Motion. There was other support for the
Motion and the Assembly meeting was adjourned.