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Victims and Prisoners Bill, House of Lords – Committee Stage Briefing

The Bill was first published on 29 March 2023. It is the culmination of the government’s public consultation on justice for victims and the Root and Branch Review of the Parole System (MoJ, 2021 & 2022). The key measures in the Bill in its current form will:

Part I: Victims of Criminal Conduct

  • Introduce measures to improve support for victims, including through strengthening transparency and placing the principles of the Victims’ Code into law;
  • Place a duty on local commissioners in England to work together when commissioning support services and introducing guidance around domestic violence;
  • Bring the circumstances under which a Domestic Abuse Related Death Review is considered in line with the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 definition of domestic abuse.

Part II: Victims of Major Incidents

  • Establish an Independent Advocate to support victims of major incidents.

Part III: Infected Blood Compensation Body

  • Establish a compensation scheme for the victims of the infected blood scandal.

Part IV: Prisoners

  • Allow the Secretary of State to refer release decisions involving ‘top tier’ offences (such as murder, terrorism and serious sexual offences) to the Upper Tribunal;
  • Allow the Secretary of State to remove the Parole Board’s Chair in the name of maintaining public confidence, and make rules prescribing the composition of certain
    Parole Board panels;
  • Disapply section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 regarding legislation concerning prisoner release.

This briefing focuses on Part IV of the Bill concerning prisoners. More specifically, it looks at
amendments concerning:

  • Clauses 44 & 45: Referral of Parole Board release decisions
  • Clauses 49-52: Disapplication of section 3 of the Human Rights Act to a specific group of people
  • Clause 53: Powers for the Secretary of State to prescribe specific Parole Board members to particular cases
  • Clause 54: Powers for the Secretary of State to remove the Parole Board Chair if considered necessary for the maintenance of public confidence in the board
  • Clauses 55 & 56: Provisions to stop whole life tariff prisoners getting married or having a civil partnership

Download the briefing here.

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