HL Deb 18 March 1948 vol 154 cc962-3

2.36 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, before the House go into Committee on the Police Pensions Bill, there is just one small point to which I should like to draw the attention of the noble and learned Viscount and on which I should like an explanation. Under Clause 8 (that is the Interpretation Clause) of the Bill there occur these three words: 'injury' includes disease. That strikes me as a very wide definition of the word "injury." If your Lordships will refer to the Police Pensions Act, 1921, the greater portion of which is being repealed by the new Bill, your Lordships will observe, in subsection (2) of Section 33, a very wide definition of the word "injury." I need not bother to read it to your Lordships now. My purpose is merely to seek from the Lord Chancellor an explanation of these words in the new Bill to the effect that, if a policeman contracts a disease, it shall be said to be an injury, and he will thereby be able to claim a pension or other remunerative reward under the Bill. It is quite a small matter. Probably it is due to a decision reached in the High Court. I do not know, but I should like the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack to reply to that point.


My Lords, I am glad to reply to the point raised by the noble Earl. The position is not unlike that which has been agreed under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Under the existing Act of 1921, the case of Garvin v. the Police Authority for the City of London came before the High Court. A policeman alleged, and proved, that he had suffered from tuberculosis and that that tuberculosis was due to the fact that he had had prolonged service in an unventilated office. The Court held that that was an injury within the meaning of the Act of 1921. Similarly, if a policeman in the course of his duty were to have to lie upon the wet ground whilst keeping observation, and he contracted an illness, that also would be held to be an injury within the Police Pensions Act, 1921.

Again, suppose that a policeman, in the course of his duties, had to go to a fever hospital to arrest somebody, or to take a dying declaration, and he contracted fever; that also, under the existing law, would be held to be an injury within the meaning of the Act of 1921. All we are doing in this new Bill, in substance, is to reproduce quite simply the existing law, though it may seem to many of your Lordships rather far-fetched to call those diseases "injuries." However, they are injuries according to the law as it has been interpreted. All we are now doing is to make it quite obvious that "injury" does include "disease." I think that that is the answer to the noble Earl's question.


I am much obliged to the noble and learned Viscount for that reply. That certainly has made the point much clearer.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly. [The Earl of Drogheda in the Chair.]

House resumed.

Bill reported without amendment.