HL Deb 10 December 1964 vol 262 cc238-41

3.45 p.m.

Report of Amendments received (according to Order).

Clause 14 [ Special provisions with respect to statutory deposits, & c.]:

THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord Gardiner) moved, in subsection (2), to leave out (a) section 2 of the Assurance Companies Act 1909; ". The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment raises a question which has arisen since the Committee stage. The subsection 1n question provides that Sections 6 to 8 of this Act shall not apply to money deposited with the Accountant General under or by virtue of any of the enactments mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g) of the foregoing subsection or under"— and then there are set out references to three sections of three Acts, paragraph (a), in line 19, being "section 2 of the Assurance Companies Act 1909". It has now been ascertained that the last deposit made under that Act has been withdrawn. The Act of 1909 was repealed by the Insurance Companies Act, 1958, so that no new deposit can be made under the 1909 Act. It having been ascertained that the last deposit under that Act has now been withdrawn, there is no need to make any reference to it in this clause. I beg to move accordingly.

Amendment moved— Page 13, line 19, leave out line 19.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, after Clause 25, to insert the following new clause:

Amendment of section 8 of Prosecution of Offences Act 1879. 1879 c. 22.

". A statutory instrument by which the power to make, vary, rescind or add to regulations conferred on the Attorney General by section 8 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1879 is exercised shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament, and for the requirement that the approval of the Lord Chancellor and a Secretary of State shall be requisite to the exercise of that power there shall be substituted a requirement that the exercise thereof shall be subject to the concurrence of a Secretary of State."

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment raises a question which at the time of the Committee stage was still under discussion between my right honourable friend the Home Secretary, the learned Attorney General and myself. It arises in this way. The Prosecution of Offences Act, 1879, provides for the appointment and duties of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Section 8 empowers the Attorney General, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary, to make regulations for carrying the Act into effect. It also requires proposed regulations to be laid before both Houses of Parliament, and not to be finally approved until the draft has been so laid for 40 sitting days.

The effect of the Amendment is this. In the first place, the Amendment substitutes the Negative Resolution procedure for the procedure of laying in draft. The requirement to lay in draft serves no useful purpose: the precise effect on this requirement of the Statutory Instruments Act, 1946, is obscure, and it is suggested that it is in every way preferable that the procedure of laying in draft should be replaced by the normal provision for annulment, under the Negative Resolution Procedure. Secondly, it is not in accordance with modern practice to require one Minister's acts to be approved by another Minister. Accordingly, it is proposed to substitute for "approval" the word "concurrence".

At the time when the Act of 1879 was passed, the Attorney General was not a Minister; he was a barrister doing his work in Chambers. The Law Officers' Department as it now exists, was not then in existence, and therefore it was not unnatural that his actions should require the approval of the Minister.

The third change which the Amendment makes is to delete the requirement for either approval or concurrence by the Lord Chancellor. It may have been thought in those days that it was desirable that somebody with legal knowledge should approve or concur, but, as your Lordships will appreciate, as the Lord Chancellor is a Judge, the less he is concerned with the Director of Public Prosecutions, obviously the better. The Home Secretary has some direct interests as they relate to the police. Those are the three amendments which would be made by this Amendment.

Amendment moved—

After Clause 25, insert the said new clause.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Amendments of Enactments for Securing Conformity with Part I of this Act]:


My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should respectfully desire to take Amendments 3 to 8 together. These Amendments substitute the expression "England or Wales" for the expression "England and Wales" in places where the disjunctive formula is more appropriate. As drafted, Schedule 1 modifies the application of a number of sections of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845 "in the case of lands in England and Wales". It is obviously more accurate to refer to "lands in England or Wales".

Amendments moved—

Page 27, line 43, leave out ("and") and insert ("or"),

Page 27, line 52, leave out ("and") and insert ("or"),

Page 28, line 13, leave out ("and") and insert ("or"),

Page 28, line 24, leave out ("and") and insert ("or"),

Page 28, line 31, leave out ("and") and insert ("or"),

Page 28, line 44, leave out ("and") and insert ("or").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.