HL Deb 29 March 1960 vol 222 cc422-3

2.37 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this Bill is no stranger to your Lordships. In the last session of the previous Parliament, the Bill passed through all its stages in this House. The Bill before us now is identical with the Bill that was read a third time in this House on July 16 last year. It is, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Reid, said on Second Reading on July 2, 1959, a Bill to restore the Common Law of Scotland rather than a Bill to amend or abolish it. It was a better Bill when it left your Lordships' House than when it was first presented, and we are indebted 'to the noble and learned Lords, Lord Keith of Avonholm and Lord Reid, and also to the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, and other noble Lords for their valuable contributions to the debates.

I will not therefore weary your Lordships with a detailed explanation of the Bill. I need only remind you that the Bill gives effect to the two recommendations made in the First Report of the Law Reform Committee for Scotland. In relation to the standard of care which an occupier owes to persons entering his premises, Clauses 1 and 2 do no more than restore the law of Scotland as it was understood until 1929. In relation to the care of visitors to let premises where the landlord is responsible for maintenance or repair, Clause 3 does no more than restore the law of Scotland as it was understood until 1908. My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Craigton.)


My Lords, in the unavoidable absence of my noble friend Lord Greenhill, it falls to me very briefly to welcome this Bill on behalf of my noble friends. I understand that it brings the law in Scotland regarding liability of occupiers and owners into line with the law which now obtains in England and has so obtained since 1957. Indeed, I believe that it is also in line with what we were discussing more recently, towards the end of the last Parliament—the Factories Bill, now the Factories Act. We therefore have no observations to make upon it except to note with satisfaction that in Clause 3 Her Majesty's Government, after a lapse of 52 years, appear to have got round a Scottish case which came "unstuck" in your Lordships' House in 1908. The ruling in that case will now be reversed, and when this Bill becomes law the landlord, when he is responsible for repairs and maintenance, will be in exactly the same position as the occupier.

We are also glad that after a somewhat long interval, Her Majesty's Government have got round to implementing the first of the Reports of the Law Reform Committee for Scotland, and we hope that others will be following in due course.

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