HC Deb 12 July 1946 vol 425 cc809-10

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

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

The nomenclature has gone somewhat awry in this Clause. The principal Act should be the Diplomatic Privileges Act, consolidating all the customs and usages up to that particular time, and after that there should be successive extensions of that Act. The principal Act is referred to as the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Act, 1944. This Bill is given the same Title except for the year 1946. As a general matter of drafting and a guide to counsel in this matter, it would be a good plan when starting the process of consolidating to have the Title without the word "Extension." The Act should be called the Diplomatic Privileges Act of a particular year. It would become the principal Act, and the others would follow as Extension Acts. We should then know where we are in relating one Act to another.

Mr. J. Foster

It seems to me a pity that after we congratulated the Government on their new method of printing Amendments, the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Act of 1941 should be left in the cold. We now have the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Act of 1941, the Act of 1944 and this Bill. The 1944 Act and this Bill are welded together, and the 1941 Act is left out. The draftsmen might perhaps consider whether this could be simplified.

Mr. Paget

Is the 1941 Act really the principal Act?

Mr. J. Foster

It is called the "Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Act."

Mr. Paget

That was the only point I was making. From the point of view purely of lawyers when they come to look up a matter of diplomatic privilege, if they see a reference to the 1944 and 1946 Acts, they may miss the 1941 Act and give wrong advice. If the Government could put in a further reference to that Act so that nobody will miss it, it would be a good thing.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I will certainly look into that. I believe it to be the case that the 1941 Act has expired as it depended on the Emergency Powers Act which no longer exists.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.