A Bill to amend the law relating to coroners and to certification and registration of deaths; to amend the criminal law; to make provision about criminal justice and about dealing with offenders; to make provision about the Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses; to make provision relating to the security of court and other buildings; to make provision about legal aid; to make provision for payments to be made by offenders in respect of benefits derived from the exploitation of material pertaining to offences; to amend the Data Protection Act 1998; and for connected purposes.
The introduction of this Bill follows a number of separate reviews of the law on coroners and justice.
- Reforms the law relating to death certification and coroners, requiring some inquests to be heard without a jury
- Amends the defences of diminished responsibility and provocation in homicide cases
- Simplifies language in the offence of assisting or encouraging suicide
- Removes an exemption for ‘discussion or criticism’ in the new offence of inciting hatred on grounds of sexual orientation
- Extends the law proscribing possession of child pornography to include non‑photographic images
- Increases flexibility in the help given to vulnerable witnesses giving evidence
- Changes rules on live links for defendants
- Reforms the system of granting bail in murder cases
- Makes changes to legal aid
- Introduces measures to prevent offenders profiting from accounts of their crimes.
After the Committee Stage of the Bill, the Government made announcements in relation to two of the provisions in the Bill. It confirmed that clause 152 (now clause 154), which would enable Ministers to make information-sharing orders, would be withdrawn. It also announced the tabling of Government amendments for Report Stage to recast the provision which would exclude juries from some inquests.