Lords Amendment: No. 3, in page 3, line 15, at end insert new Clause "A":
A.—(1) The following subsection shall have effect where, under section 28 of the Act of 1963 (assessment of individual bookmakers to levy), a bookmaker appeals in respect of an assessment notice issued by the Levy Board in his case, and the appeal, having been referred to a tribunal established under section 29 of that Act, is either dismissed by the tribunal or abandoned by the bookmaker.
§ (2) If the tribunal thinks it just that the bookmaker should make a payment towards expenses appearing to it to have been reasonably incurred by the Levy Board in connection with the appeal, the tribunal may certify accordingly and the Board shall be entitled to recover from the bookmaker as a debt due to them the amount specified in the certificate."
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
I beg to move, That this House does agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.
The purpose of the Amendment is to bring about a quid pro quo. Section 29(6) of the principal Act enables the appeals tribunal to award a bookmaker his costs against the Levy Board where his appeal against his assessment is successful. The section contains no comparable provision enabling the Levy Board to receive its costs from the bookmaker when he abandons or loses his appeal.
The purpose of the Amendment is therefore to put the Levy Board on the same footing as the appellant. It provides that where a bookmaker appeals to the tribunal and then either abandons or loses his appeal the tribunal may fix a figure representing the reasonable costs of the Levy Board incurred in connection with the appeal so as to enable the Board to recover that sum from the unsuccessful appellant.
§ Sir D. Renton
Subject to any explanation which the Minister can give, the Amendment appears to create a very onesided 1722 situation. Subsection 2 of the new clause says:If the tribunal thinks it just that the bookmaker should make a payment towards expenses appearing to it to have been reasonably incurred by the Levy Board",the Board can recover from the bookmaker. If the tribunal thinks it just that the Levy Board should pay the bookmaker's expenses, or costs to use a word more familiar to the hon. Gentleman and myself, what happens then? We should be told, because it would be very unfortunate if we were to accept a position in which costs could be obtained from one side after a dispute, but not obtained from the other.
§ Mr. Temple
The Minister said that the Levy Board was entitled to recover reasonable costs. The Clause says nothing about reasonable costs. It refers to, "recover from the bookmaker" and also toexpenses appearing to it to have been reasonably incurred by the Levy Board.These can be quite different matters. Quite substantial expenses might reasonably be incurred by the Levy Board by having to take a great deal of legal advice. If the words "reasonable costs", which were used by the Minister, were included in the Clause the matter would be put in better perspective. The inclusion of those words would make the Amendment appear more reasonable.
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his hon. Friend compare the wording of Section 29(6) of the principal Act with subsection (2) of the Clause they will find that they are very similar. Section 29(6) of the principal Act says:If any such tribunal thinks it just so to direct in allowing any appeal by a bookmaker, the Levy Board shall pay to that bookmaker such amount as the tribunal may specify towards expenses appearing to the tribunal to have been reasonably incurred by the bookmaker in connection with the appeal.Subsection (2) of the Clause says:… expenses appearing to it to have been reasonably incurred by the Levy Board …
§ Sir D. Renton
I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on having at last conclusively won an argument in the debates on this Bill.
§ Question put and agreed to.