HC Deb 02 June 1960 vol 624 cc1711-2
Mr. A. J. Irvine

I beg to move, in page 6, line 9, to leave out "aggrieved" and to insert "affected".

The courts have indicated from time to time their dislike of the expression "aggrieved" in Acts of Parliament, and in the case of Jones v. Ealing Corporation, which was heard last year, the Lord Chief Justice directed observations to this word. He said: Coming, therefore, to the second question, whether the local planning authority could be said to be aggrieved in the present case, I would like to make two general observations. First, I would like to voice a protest that Parliament continues to allow this expression to come into Act after Act of Parliament. He went on to refer to previous criticisms which Lord Hewart had made in 1929 when he was Lord Chief Justice, and he added: Notwithstanding that, the words continued to creep in after that date and continue to do so today. This is another case where Parliament has failed to make clear what was really intended by those words. In the light of observations of that kind, I suggest that it is very desirable that we should consider whether we should make any further use of the expression. Recent cases on this point, in planning law, have dealt with the issue whether or not the local planning authority can be a person aggrieved. I acknowledge that that question is not likely to arise under the Clause. None the less, the criticism from which I have quoted goes wider than that. It is obviously very desirable and important that there should be harmony between the viewpoints of Parliament and the judiciary on a matter of this kind. The word "aggrieved" is ambiguous in its character and content. The word "affected" goes wider, but I suggest that it escapes all the ambiguity.

Mr. H. Brooke

Not being a lawyer, I hesitate to cross swords with the hon. and learned Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. A. J. Irvine) on a matter which has arisen in this way, but since he said that the word "aggrieved" had attracted criticism on the ground of ambiguity I would ask him to examine the whole of the subsection, because I think he will find that no ambiguity is possible. He will see the words a site licence has been issued to him … There can be no ambiguity about that. The site licence is issued to a certain individual, and no one but that individual can be referred to by the rest of the subsection. A person affected by a condition … subject to which a site licence has been issued to him seems almost meaningless. He will clearly be affected, but he will wish to appeal only if he is aggrieved. I therefore submit that the fact that the words "issued to him" remove all possibility of ambiguity, the proper verb in this circumstance is "aggrieved".

Mr. A. J. Irvine

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. Nevertheless, it is true that a word so severely criticised is now occurring in another Act of Parliament, and it is with some reluctance that I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.