HC Deb 24 February 1948 vol 447 cc1883-4

9.15 p.m.

Mr. J. Edwards

I beg to move, in page 5, line 36, at the end, to add: (4) Subsection (10) of the said Section fourteen shall have effect as if after the word 'recoverable' there were inserted the word 'summarily'. Under Section 14 of the Water Act expenses which may be incurred by a local authority or statutory water undertaker with the authority of the court in taking steps, in default of the person ordered by a court of summary jurisdiction to do so, to prevent underground water from running to waste, are recoverable by county court proceedings. This Amendment will enable expenses to be recovered summarily and brings this Clause into line with similar powers in other sections of the Act.

Mr. Manningham-Buller (Daventry)

I want to ask why it is thought that a police court would be a better tribunal than a county court for the speedy recovery of these expenses. I should have thought that, under procedure which can be adopted in the county court, that was the better tribunal before which to bring this matter, particularly having regard to the fact that the order will have been made by that court in the first place. If the Parliamentary Secretary can explain why it is thought better to transfer this matter, which is more in the nature of a civil matter than a criminal matter, to what are normally criminal courts, I should be grateful.

Mr. J. Edwards

The fact that this would go to a court of summary jurisdiction would not in any way mean that it would cease to be a civil matter. The court of summary jurisdiction is the court which will have given the order. I think there are some advantages for proceedings for the recovery of any monies involved to be taken in the same court. In other Sections of the Act, at Section 17 (3), Section 41 (3), and at Section 64 (2) of the Third Schedule to the Act, the form of words is exactly the same as the form of words I now ask the Committee to accept. I hope, therefore, that this Amendment will be allowed, because I think it is on the whole better that we should have uniformity of practice in the recovery of monies, and that we should use the same form here as we have already used in the Sections to which I have referred.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.