HC Deb 24 July 1973 vol 860 cc1542-3

Order for Second Reading read.

9.43 p.m.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Michael Havers)

I beg to move, That the Bill be read now a Second time.

The Bill was considered by the Joint Committee in June. The Statute Law Committee in Northern Ireland is anxious to complete the revised statutes, taking the position up to date to 1970. This is necessary to clear away the dead wood so that those revised statutes cat be completed.

Clause 2 is a little unusual. This arises due to the Civil Evidence (Northern Ireland) Act 1971. When originally drafted it sought to amend the law in Northern Ireland in the same way as the 1968 Act had done in England and Wales, and to repeal two limited exceptions t.) the rule about hearsay evidence and replace them with comprehensive provisions. In the event a new thought was taken about it. As a result of the change of policy just before the Bill was about to be presented to the Parliament of Northern Ireland, it was decided to wait until experience in England and Wales showed whether it was desirable that that should take place in Northern Ireland. The experience will follow our 1968 Act.

When this was done the draftsman overlooked the need to narrow down the repeal provisions in the Bill, and he repealed too much. Thus the existing Civil Evidence Act, so far as hearsay evidence was concerned, was repealed. This is merely correcting an oversight which then occurred. No retrospection arises out of this change. In every other respect it is a perfectly normal Statute Law Revision Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.[Sir P. Bryan.]

Bill immediately considered in Committee; reported, without amendment.

Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 56 (Third Reading), and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, without amendment.