HC Deb 27 June 1968 vol 767 cc935-6


Mr. Lane

I beg to move Amendment No. 20, in page 9, line 18, at end insert: 'and, if such proceedings have been commenced before the passing of this Act, shall not be required to pursue them and may, if he thinks fit, with the leave of the court, discontinue these proceedings'. This is a simple and commonsense Amendment which will help the working of the Act, in smoothing it from the point of view of the Registrar and the parties to agreements, and in avoiding waste of time and money. This is to do with the present wording of Clause 9(1). The present wording removes the rigidity of the 1956 Act. There are cases where an agreement, or the restrictions in it, have been ended, and in those cases the Registrar will not be required to take proceedings although, if he thinks fit, he may do so.

There may be one or two current cases where agreements, or parts of them, have ended, but where proceedings by the Registrar have begun which would not have begun if there had been an earlier provision similar to that which we are now putting on the Statute Book. The Amendment seeks to make the position crystal clear, so that the Registrar is now empowered to discontinue proceedings in these narrow cases to which I am referring. The Minister may feel that it is unnecessary to add these words, but I am heartened by the reasoning of the Solicitor-General in moving Amendment No. 9, who said he wished to make things clear beyond doubt.

The addition of these words cannot do any harm and may do a little good by making doubly sure that there is no unnecessary continuation of proceedings by the Registrar. Such a clarification would be welcome in industry. If the Minister sees any difficulties about the words perhaps he would consider it and put forward another Amendment in another place.

Mr. Dell

I was not clear, on first reading this Amendment that, what the hon. Gentleman might have in mind. Having heard his explanation I do not think there are any cases of the sort that he fears, and therefore his Amendment is redundant. Perhaps the simplest thing to do is for me to agree to consider at leisure what he has said, and if I find that there is anything in it, and there is something not covered in the Bill which should be covered, I can then arrange for a suitable Amendment to be made as necessary.

Mr. Lane

In view of that assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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