HC Deb 26 July 1963 vol 681 cc2012-3

Lords Amendment: In page 48, line 24, leave out from "any" to end of line 26 and insert: legal proceedings, including arbitrations".

1.0 p.m.

Mr. Hare

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

When this House discussed this Clause, both in Committee and on Report, it was argued on both sides that the restriction imposed by Clause 58 on inspectors concerning the disclosure of information in civil proceedings not pursuant to the Bill, might work unfairly; for example, it would not have allowed an inspector to give evidence in personal injury cases not involving a breach of statutory duty even though he had investigated the cause of the accident. This restriction might have worked to the disadvantage of either the employer or employee.

When the Clause was under discussion in another place, it was argued again from both sides that Clause 58 should be amended to allow an inspector to disclose information in civil proceedings not pursuant to the Bill. The Amendment we are discussing has that effect. It is just possible that inspectors might get involved in purely private civil actions as a result of this Amendment, but we think this is unlikely, and, in view of the expression of opinion by both Houses, we think that the decision to put down this Amendment was right.

Mr. Graham Page

It is most gratifying that the arguments put in this House so strongly have now found their way into the Bill. We failed in this House in convincing my right hon. Friend that it was right not to restrict the disclosure of facts or documents merely to civil proceedings pursuant to the Act. By this Amendment the power of disclosure is widened and the inspector can be called upon to disclose facts and documents in any civil proceedings and also in any criminal proceedings or any arbitration. I am sure that this is right. I am very glad that the arguments have now prevailed in favour of it.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.