HC Deb 21 May 1965 vol 712 cc1937-8

11.48 a.m.

Mr. Martin McLaren (Bristol, North-West)

I beg to move, in page 6, line 6, after "Act" to insert: except so much of this section and Schedule 2 as relates to the Writ of Subpoena Act 1805".

Mr. Speaker

I imagine that it will be for the convenience of the House to extend the discussion of this Amendment to include the Amendment in Schedule 2, page 7, line 36.

Mr. McLaren

The two Amendments are related, Mr. Speaker, and, if I may say so, it would be convenient to discuss them together.

The Bill in its present form does not extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland, as the end of Clause 8 indicates. We suggest that this Measure would be improved if there were power to enable a witness summons issued by the English courts under Clause 2 to be served and enforced in Scotland or Northern Ireland. At present, a subpoena can be served anywhere in the United Kingdom by virtue of the Writ of Subpoena Act, 1805, and now that the procedure of the subpoena is being replaced by the witness summons, as proposed under Clause 2 of this Bill, we seek to adapt the 1805 Act so that it will apply to the new form of witness summons. That is done by the second of the two Amendments. The result will be to preserve the existing law governing the service of witness process in other parts of the United Kingdom.

The first Amendment extends the application of the Bill to Scotland and Northern Ireland for the limited purposes of the service and enforcement of witness summonses in other parts of the United Kingdom.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Dingle Foot)

I think I could content myself, like a Lord Justice in the Court of Appeal, by saying that I agree and have nothing to add. This is a useful and indeed a necessary Amendment. It would be an anomaly if we were to abolish the subpoena and replace it by witness summons yet make no provision for the enforcement of a witness summons issued in England when the person to whom the summons is issued happens to be in Scotland or Northern Ireland. I therefore commend these Amendments to the House.

Amendment agreed to.