HC Deb 25 July 1958 vol 592 cc826-7
The Attorney-General

I beg to move, in page 11, line 44, at the end, to insert: (3) Amy statement of the reasons for such a decision as is mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) of this section, whether given in pursuance of that subsection or of any other statutory provision, shall be taken to form part of the decision and accordingly to be incorporated in the record. This Amendment arises from our discussions in Committee. The right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) at that time posed a question as to whether any distinction was to be drawn in relation to certiorari proceedings between an oral statement of reasons and a written statement of reasons. As I undertook to do, concerning all the points raised during our discussions, we have given further consideration to that and to many other matters.

We have felt that there is doubt whether reasons under the existing law, whether stated orally or in writing, can always be regarded as forming part of the record of proceedings. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows, certiorari will lie only where there is something obviously wrong on the record of proceedings. Bearing in mind the doubt which exists concerning that as to whether in all cases the reasons could be held to form part of the record, we thought that we had better remove that doubt by this provision to make it clear that the statement of reasons, whether oral or in writing, should be deemed to be part of the record and so make it possible to bring certiorari proceedings. This is a provision for the removal of doubt, and I commend it to the House.

Sir F. Soskice

Again I express my gratitude to the Attorney-General. He disposes, to my satisfaction at least, of the lingering doubt which a number of us felt in Committee. As was previously indicated, the purpose of the Clause is twofold. One of the purposes is to ensure that there shall be an untrammelled power in the courts to consider these decisions by way of certiorari. As the Attorney-General has indicated, there was a twofold doubt: first, whether a verbal statement of reasons would suffice, and secondly, the doubt that might arise whether in all cases reasons could be regarded as part of the record for the purpose of certiorari proceedings. The language that the Attorney-General has chosen disposes completely of the difficulty and this is a distinct improvement in the Bill. I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the step he has taken.

Amendment agreed to.