HC Deb 23 November 1920 vol 135 cc267-9

(2) On an arbitration under the Act of 1908 the arbitrator may, if he thinks fit—

  1. (a) make separate awards in respect of the several claims referred to him; and
  2. (b) make an interim award for the payment of any sum on account of the sum to be finally awarded.

(3) A rule made under this Section shall be laid before each House of Parliament forthwith, and if an Address is presented to his Majesty by either House of Parliament within the next subsequent thirty days on which that House has sat next after any such rule is laid before it praying that the rule may be annulled, it shall thenceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done there under.


I beg to move, in Subsection (2), after the word "fit," to insert the words "and shall if required by either party."

The object of this Amendment is that, if either party to one of these arbitration cases wishes it, the arbitrator shall be compelled to make a detailed statement. I know that an Amendment on similar lines was proposed in Committee stage of the Bill, and it was not accepted by the Government. But I do hope that, on consideration, the Parliamentary Secretary will see his way to accept this Amendment, because it is only fair that, when claims which are lodged under various heads, those claims should be dealt with by the arbitrator in a detailed manner, and that the arbitrator should not simply award a lump sum, but say how that lump sum which he has awarded is arrived at by giving the various details.


I beg to second the Amendment. It seems to me a most reasonable request that the arbitrator, when he has several claims referred to him, should make an arbitration in respect of each claim. I hope that my right hon. Friend will accept this Amendment. I think it is quite reasonable and quite in accordance with the ordinary practice of a Court of Law.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Ernest Pollock)

I think the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment have overlooked the powers the arbitrator has under the Schedule to the Act of 1908. It must be remembered that under Clause 10 of the Schedule to the Act of 1908 it is provided that the arbitrator shall, on the application of either party, specify the amount awarded in respect of any particular improvement or any particular matter subject to the award. All that the Amendment does beyond what is already provided for is in substance this: to require that the arbitrator shall make a statement.


Is it not possible that if these words are not put in this Clause, and it is left as it is, that it may be held that this Clause over-rides the Act of 1908, and that therefore the Act of 1908 does not apply so far as relates to the proceedings of the arbitrator under this Act? That is what I am afraid of. If it is as my right hon. Friend suggests, it would be better to leave these words out altogether and rely on the other Act.

Lieut.-Colonel MURRAY

Before making up his mind on this my right hon. Friend might consider the words of the right hon. Baronet, and if it does not over-ride it, it can be left as it is. Do not let him give a hasty answer to it now.


I am prepared, in response to the question of the hon. Member opposite, to count ten before I give my decision lest it should be too hasty. Having counted that number, I am prepared to give my answer. These two Acts are to be read together, and there is no question, therefore, of one overriding the other. We have provided that the arbitration shall take place in accordance with the Act of 1908, and in accordance with this Schedule. Therefore as the matter stands at present, we have got the benefit now of Clause 10 of the Schedule of the Act of 1908, under which, on the application of either party, the amount is to be specified. What is felt is this: with regard to some of these claims which are to be made by the landlord or tenant, it may be that some matters are very easy to decide, and on which there can be an immediate award, and the arbitrator would no doubt adopt this procedure. But where an award in favour of one party might, on the whole, on balance be wiped out by an award in favour of the other party—in such a case it would be unwise to make such an award. This power to make separate awards may be of use in particular cases, but in general inasmuch as there is power already to ask for specific items to be dealt with, and that power still exists, I think it would be unwise to try to alter this Clause in the manner suggested in the Amendment and to insist upon separate awards being given. The Bill leaves it a matter of discretion.

Lieut.-Colonel ROYDS

I know it is not the practice of arbitrators to specify the different items in their awards to the great inconvenience of those concerned. As I read the Act of 1908 it says that the arbitrator on the application of either party shall specify the amount awarded in respect of any particular improvement or any particular matter under his award. As I understand the position the arbitrators take up, it is that they only give these particulars after they have made their award. The Amendment of my hon. Friend would require the arbitrator at the request of either party to specify every item in his award which would be most useful. I do not think it is done under the Act of 1908. The arbitrators do not give the particulars much to the annoyance of the parties concerned. I should support most strongly the Amendment of my hon. Friend. It would give us a much better system of arbitration.

Amendment negatived.