Justices of the Peace Act 1979

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1979 c. 55


Justices of the Peace Act 1979

1979 CHAPTER 55

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to justices of the peace (including stipendiary magistrates), justices' clerks and the administrative and financial arrangements for magistrates' courts, and to matters connected therewith, with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission.

[6th December 1979]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I General

Part I

General

Areas and commissions of the peace

Areas and commissions of the peace

S-1 Commission areas.

1 Commission areas.

1. There shall in England and Wales be a commission of the peace for the following areas (in this Act referred to as ‘commission areas’) and no others, that is to say—

a ) every county
b ) every London commission area; and
c ) the City of London
S-2 London commission areas.

2 London commission areas.

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 3 of this Act, the following areas of Greater London, that is to say—

(a ) an area to be known as the ‘inner London area’, consisting of the inner London boroughs;

(b ) an area to be known as the ‘north-east London area’, consisting of the London boroughs of Barking, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest;

(c ) an area to be known as the ‘south-east London area’, consisting of the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley and Croydon;

(d ) an area to be known as the ‘south-west London area’, consisting of the London boroughs of Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton; and

(e ) an area to be known as the ‘Middlesex area’, consisting of the London boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow,

are in this Act referred to as ‘London commission areas’, and the areas specified in paragraphs (b ) to (e ) above are in this Act referred to as the ‘outer London areas’.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a London commission area shall be deemed to be a non-metropolitan county for all purposes of the law relating to commissions of the peace, justices of the peace, magistrates' courts, magistrates' courts committees, the keeper of the rolls, justices' clerks and matters connected with any of those matters; and references to a county in any enactment passed or instrument made before the 10th June 1964, and references to a non-metropolitan county in any enactment or instrument as amended or modified by or under the Local Government Act 1972 , shall be construed accordingly.

(3) Subsection (2) above shall not apply to any enactment (including any enactment contained in this Act) to which apart from this subsection it would apply and which expressly refers in the same context both—

(a ) to a county or counties or to a non-metropolitan county or non-metropolitan counties, and

(b ) to a London commission area or London commission areas or any of those areas;

and the generality of subsection (2) above shall not be taken to be prejudiced by any enactment to which by virtue of this subsection that subsection does not apply.

S-3 Power to adjust London commission areas.

3 Power to adjust London commission areas.

(1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council substitute for any one or more of the areas specified in section 2(1) above any other area or areas comprising the whole or part of Greater London, or alter the boundaries of any area so specified; but the City of London shall not by virtue of any such Order be included in a London commission area.

(2) An Order in Council made under this section may contain such incidental, consequential, transitional or supplementary provisions as may be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the Order (including provisions amending this Act or any other enactment).

(3) Any statutory instrument made by virtue of this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

S-4 Petty sessions areas.

4 Petty sessions areas.

(1) The following areas outside Greater London are petty sessions areas, that is to say—

(a ) every non-metropolitan county which is not divided into petty sessional divisions;

(b ) every petty sessional division of a non-metropolitan county;

(c ) every metropolitan district which is not divided into petty sessional divisions; and

(d ) every petty sessional division of a metropolitan district.

(2) In the following provisions of this Act ‘petty sessions area’ means any of the following, that is to say—

(a ) any of the areas outside Greater London specified in subsection (1) above;

(b ) any London commission area which is not divided into petty sessional divisions;

(c ) any petty sessional division of a London commission area; and

(d ) the City of London.

S-5 General form of commissions of the peace.

5 General form of commissions of the peace.

(1) The commission of the peace for any commission area shall be a commission under the Great Seal addressed generally, and not by name, to all such persons as may from time to time hold office as justices of the peace for the commission area.

(2) A commission of the peace issued after the commencement of this Act shall be framed so as to take account of the abolition of courts of quarter sessions by section 3 of the Courts Act 1971 .

Justices other than stipendiary magistrates

Justices other than stipendiary magistrates

S-6 Appointment and removal of justices of the peace.

6 Appointment and removal of justices of the peace.

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this Act, justices of the peace for any commission area shall be appointed on behalf and in the name of Her Majesty by instrument under the hand of the Lord Chancellor, and a justice so appointed may be removed from office in like manner.

(2) The preceding subsection does not apply to stipendiary magistrates and shall be without prejudice to the position of the Lord Mayor and aldermen as justices for the City of London by virtue of the charters of the City.

S-7 Residence qualification.

7 Residence qualification.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be appointed as a justice of the peace for a commission area in accordance with section 6 of this Act, nor act as a justice of the peace by virtue of any such appointment, unless he resides in or within fifteen miles of that area.

(2) If the Lord Chancellor is of opinion that it is in the public interest for a person to act as a justice of the peace for a particular area though not qualified to do so under subsection (1) above, he may direct that, so long as any conditions specified in the direction are satisfied, that subsection shall not apply in relation to that person's appointment as a justice of the peace for the area so specified.

(3) Where a person appointed as a justice of the peace for a commission area in accordance with section 6 of this Act is not qualified under the preceding provisions of this section to act by virtue of the appointment, he shall be removed from office as a justice of the peace in accordance with section 6 of this Act if the Lord Chancellor is of opinion that the appointment ought not to continue having regard to the probable duration and other circumstances of the want of qualification.

(4) No act or appointment shall be invalidated by reason only of the disqualification or want of qualification under this section of the person acting or appointed.

S-8 Supplemental list for England and Wales.

8 Supplemental list for England and Wales.

(1) There shall be kept in the office of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery a supplemental list for England and Wales as provided for by this Act (in this Act referred to as ‘the supplemental list’).

(2) Subject to the following provisions of this section, there shall be entered in the supplemental list—

(a ) the name of any justice of the peace who is of the age of 70 years or over and neither holds nor has held high judicial office within the meaning of the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 , and

(b ) the name of any justice of the peace who holds or has held such office and is of the age of 75 years or over.

(3) A person who on the date when his name falls to be entered in the supplemental list in accordance with subsection (2) above holds office as chairman of the justices in a petty sessions area (whether by an election made, or having effect as if made, under section 17 of this Act, or, in the City of London, as Chief Magistrate or acting Chief Magistrate) shall have his name so entered on the expiry or sooner determination of the term for which he holds office on that date.

(4) The Lord Chancellor may direct that the name of a justice of the peace for any area shall be entered in the supplemental list if the Lord Chancellor is satisfied either—

(a ) that by reason of the justice's age or infirmity or other like cause it is expedient that he should cease to exercise...

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