HC Deb 30 November 1948 vol 458 cc1933-4

10.0 p.m.

Mr. Grimston

I beg to move, in page 20, line 6, to leave out paragraph 4.

This paragraph gives power to the tribunal to award costs or expenses and to order a sum to be paid to the Postmaster-General. We should like to have an explanation why this power is taken. It does not seem to us that a person who appeals against one of these notices should have any cost falling upon him. I move the Amendment in order to ask for an explanation from the Postmaster-General.

The Attorney-General

I am not sure whether the hon. Member has appreciated that the omission of paragraph 4 as proposed by his Amendment would still leave the tribunal free to award costs. What paragraph 4 is designed to do is to enable the tribunal to order a sum to be paid to the Postmaster-General in respect, not of his costs, but of the costs of the tribunal.

We thought that there might be cases in which, perhaps, a frivolous appeal might be made, perhaps an appeal thought out in circumstances which the tribunal thought unjustified, and in which the tribunal might think it proper to award a sum which would include some part of the expenses of the sitting of the tribunal, and so forth. We do not take a very strong view about this, and if there is any objection to it we are quite prepared to accept the Amendment, subject to the explanation I have given as to the general position.

Mr. Grimston

I wanted an explanation. That was the object of moving this Amendment. If the paragraph is designed merely as a protection against purely frivolous appeals, I think there may be some reason for it. We can, perhaps, think about it between now and Report stage, and if on further thought we think we should like to make the Amendment, I hope that the Attorney-General will be disposed to accept an Amendment then. In the meantime, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 29.]