HC Deb 02 May 1930 vol 238 cc594-6

I beg to move, in page 1, line 9, after the word "who," to insert the words "though not completely recovered."

There are three different cases in reference to which this Clause has to be considered. There is the case of a man who has completely recovered. There is the case of a man who has recovered sufficiently to be able to resume his own work without handicap. Then there is the man who is only able to do some work other than his own work, and because of the condition of the labour market he is unable to get it. There is a very good case for saying, with regard to a man whose sphere of work has been limited by accident, that his employer or employer's insurance company should take the risk and the responsibility of that man being able to find work in the reduced area of occupation, and in that case I am certain that no one will complain about this Clause covering it. That, I believe, was the original design of the Bill in order to get away from a decision of the House of Lords.

There are two other cases which the wording of this Bill would cover, and one of them is that of the man who has absolutely and completely recovered. One knows that it is not intended by the promoters of this Bill that such person should be within the scope of the Bill, because on the Committee stage the promoters and the Solicitor-General said that there was no idea of including the case of such a man, and that if such a man could not get work because of the state of the labour market, it was not a matter for compensation. The trouble is that there are no words in the Section including such a man. It is all very well to say that the Section is not intended to cover this or that case, but that is no guidance when the courts come to construe the Section. They have to construe the words which appear in the Section, and, as a matter of construction, it is obvious that the words here are wide enough to cover the man who has completely recovered.

How can anybody say that a man who is completely recovered is not a man "who has so far recovered from his injury as to be fit for employment of a certain kind"? These words have only once, so far as I know, been considered at all. They cropped up in a recent case in the House of Lords, where it was necessary to decide the meaning of the words, but all the Law Lords were divided as to whether they would extend them to the case of a man who has recovered. One said that it looked from the use of the words "so far" as if the Section had not been intended to include a man who had absolutely recovered, but he could not say for himself one way or the other; he said that he could only say that it looked as if that was the meaning. Another Lord said the same thing, and a third said something different.

That is an interesting illustration of the necessity of being clear in the language. They had to consider the words "fit for employment of a certain kind." There is no doubt whatever that when the framers of the Bill used that language, they meant work within the man's original employment. We have only to consider the words that are there, and the Law Lords considered the words in a sense absolutely different from that which had been meant by the people who framed the Clause in the Act of 1925. Therefore, it is really very important that we should say exactly what we mean in this Section. It was said clearly in the Committee by the Solicitor-General that it is not intended to include the man who is completely recovered, and my Amendment will make it quite clear that the man who is completely recovered does not come within the Section. There ought to be no objection to the addition of these words, if the declarations which were made in Committee were genuine.


I beg to second the Amendment.

Unless some such words as these are inserted—

It being Four of the Clock, further Consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered upon Friday next.

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