HL Deb 30 April 1931 vol 80 cc993-6

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, rather more than two years ago you were good enough, at my instance, to pass through all its stages a Bill dealing with the registration of architects. That was in the autumn of 1928. The Bill in due course went to another place, but was crowded out by congestion of business. Last October, the Bill was again introduced in the House of Commons substantially in the form in which it left this House two years previously, and after a very long and laborious scrutiny in Grand Committee of the House of Commons the Bill passed and ultimately received its Third Reading in the House of Commons without a Division. In your Lordships' House two years ago likewise nobody thought it necessary to provoke a Division at any stage of the Bill.

This measure is based upon the same principle—namely, a fundamentally educational object—which underlay the previous Bill. Our desire is to improve the status and the training of architects and in doing so to raise the status and the standard and practice of architecture. Perhaps your Lordships will allow me to run through the principal clauses of the Bill. The first duty that Parliament imposes upon the architectural profession is to set up a Council which is to form and to maintain a register of architects. The second is to form what is called an Admission Committee, which will have to satisfy itself that the qualifications laid down in the Statute are adequately fulfilled. Thirdly, in Clause 7 a Board of Architectural Education is established, which will lay down the qualifications, including examinations, upon which the Admission Committee is to act. Finally, there is what is called a Discipline Committee, described in Clause 10 and in the Third Schedule, which deals with the removal of names from the register, their restoration to the register and other incidental matters of penalties, regulations, appeal and so forth.

Briefly, that is the structure of the Bill. The measure itself is drawn upon very broad and generous lines. It is extremely catholic in its acceptance of candidates for registration. The Council, the central executive body, is based largely upon representation by proportionate numbers of the chief societies interested. Every 500 members of certain specified societies have the right to nominate one member to the Council. Others are nominated as laid down by the terms of the Statute itself. Finally, the Education Board, which of course has long existed though without Parliamentary and statutory sanction, is carefully defined in the Second Schedule, and it will in effect be the first recognition by the State of the importance to the country as a whole of education in architecture as such. I submit the Bill to your Lordships' favourable consideration.

I must admit that your Lordships will be asked to make a variety of drafting Amendments, though I hope it will not be necessary to alter anything of substance in the Bill itself. Here and there there may be disparities and even contradictions, which I hope your Lordships will assist me and any others in correcting; but I may add in conclusion that the architectural profession as a whole is united in thinking that a measure of this kind is desirable, and I hope that, now the Bill has passed through one House of Parliament already, and we have considerable time available in this House, we shall be able to pass it through all its stages and place it ultimately on the Statute Book.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a. —(The Earl of Crawford.)


My Lords, I think it might save time if I rose at once to say that, in reference to the basic principles of the Bill, the Government desire to give it all the assistance and encouragement in their power. We are not, of course, responsible for the Bill, but, so far as we can give any assistance, the noble Earl can rely upon it. I notice that, as regards the Bill of 1928, it fell to my lot to speak on that occasion after the noble Earl, and I spoke entirely in support of the opinions which he expressed. There is one matter upon which I should like to say a word. I think the Bill does want a very considerable amount of redrafting in order that it may be made clear, and that no difficulties may arise in the future. But I think the way to deal with it is undoubtedly what I under stand is the noble Earl's suggestion—namely, that Amendments to that extent should be put down and the Committee stage should be taken, not directly, but after a sufficient interval, so that when these Amendments are on the Paper they may be considered. I do not apprehend that there will be any difficulty whatever in arranging them with the noble Earl opposite.

The Department I am particularly interested in is the Privy Council, because the Privy Council always have considerable duties, even in statutory charters, as regards the reasonableness of what it is proposed to do, and in the ordinary course regulations made have to go before the Privy Council for approval. I want to be quite sure that it is not suggested that the Privy Council would on any occasion act as a judge or in a judicial capacity. Their duty is to approve of regulations, and whether a regulation has been complied with or not is a matter, not for the Privy Council, but for the Courts. If your Lordships will look at Clause 15 (2) (3) (4), you will allow that in each of those subsections the Privy Council is mentioned and has to perform certain duties. I think they are quite satisfactory as far as I have read them and in accordance with precedent. The noble Earl knows my views, and if anything occurs which I think may improve the Bill, not in the sense of putting difficulties in its way, but of improving it and making it effective in every sense he will have our co-operation and assent. I do not think I need say more now because I agree so fully with the principles of the Bill as explained by the noble Earl opposite.


My Lords, will you permit me to thank my noble and learned friend the Leader of the House for his remarks. I merely have to assure him that my friends and I will pay every attention to the Amendments he indicates, and I will put myself in communication with him and settle a day convenient to himself and your Lordships for Committee.

On Question, Bill read 2a and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.


My Lords, I will put the Bill down pro forma for Tuesday next in Committee to be deferred from that day according to your convenience.


My Lords, may I say that at the present time there is no business upon the Order Paper for Tuesday next. Except for judicial business, which of course would go on in the ordinary course, I would hope it would be unnecessary for your Lordships to come here on Tuesday because there is no business upon the Order Paper. Therefore, if another day would be equally convenient to the noble Earl I think it would be more convenient to many members of the House.


My Lords, I did not contemplate taking the Bill actually on Tuesday, but of putting it down pro forma with a view to postponing it to a date to suit the general convenience of your Lordships. If the noble and learned Lord is agreeable I will put it down for this day week.


My Lords, I quite agree with the noble Earl; but if it was put down pro forma it would bring the House together. If he will put it on the Paper for Thursday next it will not take any time.


Very well, I will put it down for this day week.