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Justice Minister and Crown Prosecution Service questioned on Victims Bill

24 June 2022

Justice Minister Tom Pursglove, Mark Fenhalls QC and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) officials will be questioned by the Justice Committee for its final evidence session on the Government’s draft Victims Bill.

Witnesses

Tuesday 28 June 2022, Committee Room 5, Palace of Westminster

At 2.30pm

  • Baljit Ubhey, Director of Strategy and Policy, Crown Prosecution Service
  • Jan Lamping, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside, Crown Prosecution Service
  • Mark Fenhalls QC, Chair, Bar Council
  • Tyrone Steele, Criminal Justice Lawyer, JUSTICE 

At 3.30pm 

  • Tom Pursglove MP, Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Ministry of Justice
  • Amy Randall, Director for Victims and Vulnerability Policy, Ministry of Justice 

The first panel, comprising representatives of the CPS, Bar Council and charity JUSTICE, will give MPs an opportunity to discuss how the Bill’s provisions could impact on the legal system and those who work within it.

They are likely to be asked whether the Bill has any potential consequences for due process; what consequences should apply to public bodies such as the police and CPS if they fail to comply with the Victims’ Code; and whether it will improve victims’ ability to engage with the criminal justice system.

In the second panel, from about 3.30pm, Minister Pursglove will face questions on a range of issues that were raised throughout this inquiry. In addition to topics that will be discussed with the first panel, he will be questioned on the adequacy of the Bill’s definition of victim, proposals to amend the Victims’ Code and whether harm resulting from anti-social behaviour should be covered by the Bill.

MPs will also ask if the aims of the Bill are compatible with an immigration protocol proposed by the Home Office which, stakeholders have warned, could actively deter victims of crime from going to the police.

Minister Pursglove and witnesses in the first panel will also be asked how the Government’s proposed Bill of Rights would interact with existing obligations on the state to protect individuals’ rights.

A key aspect of the Victims Bill is to put the Victims’ Code into law. In a recent consultation, the Ministry of Justice said there is poor compliance with the Code and that victims’ rights are too often not met. Office for National Statistics data showed only 18% of victims were given the opportunity to make a personal statement, and only 45% felt the police and other agencies kept them informed.

The Bill would also put duties on police and the CPS to collect data on their own compliance with the Code, and give oversight of this to Police and Crime Commissioners.

At previous sessions in this inquiry the cross-party Committee has questioned Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird, the Children’s Commissioner, representatives of local authorities, PCCs and victim support groups. Transcripts of previous evidence sessions can be found here.

Further information

Image: Parliament copyright