§ Mr. R. Harris
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if Britain was among the 32 countries which attended the recent conference in Rome of the International Civil Aviation Organisation; whether Britain has yet signed the Convention considered at the conference; how far all foreign aircraft using London Airport will be covered by the Convention; when the Convention comes into force; and whether he is satisfied that the Convention will provide the payment of proper scales of compensation to British citizens, or their dependants, in the event of a serious accident occurring.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. R. Maudling)
Yes, Sir, but the Convention has not yet been signed by the United Kingdom Government. When it has been ratified by five States it will come into force between them. After signature and ratification of the Convention by the United Kingdom, we would be left free to require the liability of foreign aircraft flying over United Kingdom territory to be covered by insurance or other security. I am satisfied that the scale of liability under the Convention provides for reasonable compensation in all circumstances which we can foresee.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether under the Convention, which is not yet signed, there is provision for payment of damages wherever negligence in the ordinary common law definition of it in this country can be shown?
§ Mr. Maudling
I understand that that is the case. I have arranged to place a copy of this Convention in the Library for the benefit of hon. Members.
§ Mr. Maudling
Not at the moment. This Convention, when ratified, would give us power to demand that they should be covered compulsorily by insurance, but it would require legislation.
§ Mr. Harris
Until such aircraft are covered compulsorily, do the Ministry regard themselves as being liable to make up any compensation which injured parties or their dependants could reasonably expect provided that the foreign aircraft company cannot be made to pay that compensation?