HL Deb 30 October 1956 vol 199 cc1182-3

Clause 25, page 36, line 16, leave out from ("other") to end of line 18, and insert organisations or persons (if any) as apply to the tribunal to be made parties to the reference and in accordance with the next following subsection, are made parties thereto.

(3) Where an organisation (whether claiming to be representative of persons requiring licences or not) or a person (whether requiring a licence or not) applies to the tribunal to he made a party to a reference, and the tribunal is satisfied that the organisation or person has a substantial interest in the matter in dispute, the tribunal may, if it thinks fit, make that organisation or person a party to the reference.")


My Lords, Amendments Nos. 62 to 68 are concerned with Clauses 25, 26 and 27, which are all tribunal clauses. In another place the Opposition urged that organisations claiming to be representative of persons interested by reason of their profession or employment should be given a right of access to the tribunal. The tribunal is essentially a body for settling disputes between people who wanted licences and people who did not wish to grant them; it has a limited and defined jurisdiction, and the Government consider that it would be wrong and inapposite to write into the Bill a provision which would, in effect, convert the tribunal into an ineffective and anomalous additional industrial court. After a close examination of the relevant provisions of the Bill, we have come to the conclusion that the right course is to write into the Bill a discretion for the tribunal to make any organisation or person a party to a reference or application, if they are satisfied that that organisation or person has a substantial interest in the dispute.

These Amendments give effect to the decision by making the necessary changes in the clauses I have mentioned. Three things happen under these Amendments: first, the position is maintained that only parties to the actual dispute have an unconditional right to be heard; second, that none the less organisations or persons having a substantial interest in the dispute may ask to be heard and at the discretion of the tribunal may be joined as parties: third, being joined as parties, they will have all the rights and liabilities of the other parties, as, for example, the right to appeal on a point of law and the liability for costs. This is a compromise and I think it is a satisfactory one. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Mancroft.)


My Lords, I think the Government have here found a very wise way out of a difficulty. Those who have an interest in copyright matters will always be caught by the repercussions of that ill-starred Clause 11 in the original Bill. I am very glad about this Amendment. I think it must be agreed by everyone that a Bill of this description should not be used for the purpose of enforcing wages and conditions of employment agreements. There is adequate and well-tested machinery for that, and when you once start to try to use a Copyright Bill—as the 1911 Copyright Bill was used—in order to enforce conditions of employment I think you are opening up a field of irreparable damage to those whom you set out to protect—that is, the copyright holders. This Amendment therefore has my support.

On Question, Motion agreed to.