HC Deb 20 May 1938 vol 336 cc772-3

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

1.13 p.m.

Mr. Ellis Smith

During the debate on the Coal Mines Bill the President of the Board of Trade gave an undertaking that the Department would agree to the workings being examined and to plant being examined in districts affected by subsidence. I should like to ask the Attorney-General whether this Clause which defines documents as '' including books, maps, drawings and photographs," will affect that undertaking given by the President of the Board of Trade?

Mr. Goldie

May I suggest that in civil proceedings documents shall not include any documents which would be privileged on discovery? If that were inserted it would do away with the objection I raised on Clause 2.

1.16 p.m.

The Attorney-General

I do not think I can accept that suggestion. The object of the definition is to define various pieces of paper which come under the expression "document." I do not think the definition in any way effects the question of privilege. It only says that documents may be looked at as evidence in certain circumstances by leave of the court which at present cannot be looked at if objection be taken. In regard to the question put by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent (Mr. E. Smith) the definition in this Bill has no effect of any kind whatever on the undertaking given by the Board of Trade to which he referred. I cannot at the moment remember whether that particular Bill contains any definition or not. I should rather doubt it, because I think it would be clear as to the actual nature of the documents which were to be shown.

Question put, and agreed to.