HC Deb 24 July 1969 vol 787 cc2206-8

Lords Amendment No. 13: In page 30, line 38, at end insert: (2) The power of the Lord Chancellor under section 106 of the Rent Act, 1968 to make rules and give directions for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions specified in subsection (3) of that section shall extend to sections 49 and 54 of this Act.

Read a Second time.

Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move, as an Amendment to Lords Amendment, in line 5, leave out 'and 54'and insert '54 and 55'.

The new subsection to Clause 56 gives the Lord Chancellor power to make rules in connection with Clauses 49, 54 and 55. In Committee we raised the matter of rules under Clause 49. Clause 54 deals with the application to county courts if a tenant refuses to consent to improvements. Clause 55 was a modification of that introduced on Report. It deals with the production of a certificate by the rating authority to the county court in the course of proceedings requiring the tenant to give his consent to improvements being carried out. It provides for a certificate to be deemed to be such a certificate unless the contrary is proved.

It may well be necessary for some procedure to be prescribed to notify a tenant of his rights to produce such a certificate to the court and in relation to the way in which it should be pleaded as a defence. Unless there are some rules in this matter, there will be a serious gap in procedure. The Government may be advised that it is unlikely that rules will be unnecssary under the Clause, but it is possible that they may be necessary. There is no harm in the Lord Chancellor having power to makes those rules should the occasion arise.

Mr. Skeffington

I regret that I must advise the House not to accept this Amendment to the Lords Amendment. I do so not for any doctrinal reason, but simply for the reason that it is not necessary—in fact, it cannot be done.

Lords Amendment No. 13 prescribes the rules in specific cases in relation to Section 106 of the Rent Act, 1968, in the making of regulations. This is proper in regard to Clause 54, because these are matters which may come before the court; but Clause 55 deals with the procedures in the rating office and I am advised that the Lord Chancellor cannot make rules to deal with that.

I have had the point carefully checked. There is a general power in any event for the Lord Chancellor to make rules. We thought it advisable to have the Amendment in relation to Section 106 since that deals with specific matters. There is a general power. The lawyers have looked at the matter carefully and they are of the opinion that the Lord Chancellor is not in a position to make these rules. For that reason, rather than any doctrinal reason, I must ask the House not to accept the Amendment.

Question, That the Amendment to the Lords Amendment be made, put and negatived.

Lords Amendment agreed to.