§ Lords amendment: No. 23, in page 62, line 42, after ("qualified") insert
§ (", persons with knowledge or experience of service in Her Majesty's naval, military or air forces")815
§ Mr. Rooker
Clause 59 provides for a more flexible composition of the pensions appeal tribunals by permitting the Lord Chancellor to appoint to the pool of tribunal members who are available to hear individual cases lay members alongside legally and medically qualified members.
The amendments recognise anxieties that the clause as originally drafted may have restricted the numbers of people with knowledge or experience of service life who would be available to serve on tribunals. The amendments would give the Lord Chancellor a duty to appointpersons with knowledge or experience of service in Her Majesty's naval, military or air servicesto the pool of tribunal members.
The Bill continues to provide for the appointment of people with other experience, including persons with knowledge or experience of matters relating to the disabled. It was always intended that the Lord Chancellor would continue to appoint people with knowledge or experience of service life to the pool of tribunal members, and it is important that that is crystal clear in the Bill.
§ Mrs. Lait
This is becoming a routine, but I am pleased about the amendment, and pleased that the Government have included in the Bill the requirement that people with service experience should be members of the tribunals. We discussed the matter in Committee and tried to persuade the Minister to accept our amendment to that effect. He was conciliatory, and said that he hoped that people with such experience would serve on the tribunals, but he did not suggest that he was prepared to rewrite the Bill. I am therefore enormously grateful to the other House for persuading Baroness Hollis to accept the amendment, to ensure that service personnel will continue to be members of tribunals.
I thank those who initially brought the issue to my attention, and I thank the Government for accepting the amendment.
§ Lords amendment agreed to.
§ Lords amendments Nos. 24 and 25 agreed to