§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD GARDINER)
My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purpose of the Administration of Justice Bill, has consented to place her interest, so far as it is concerned on behalf of the Crown, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
709 My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a. —(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Bill read 3a.
§ Clause 27 [Superannuation benefits in respect of certain judicial offices]:
§ The Lord Chancellor moved as Amendments:
Page 17, line 21, leave out from beginning to end of line 17 on page 19 and insert—
("" 39A.—(1) The Lord Chancellor may with the consent of the Minister for the Civil Service make rules with respect to the superannuation benefits payable to or in respect of persons who have been employed—
(2) The Secretary of State may with the consent of the Minister for the Civil Service make rules with respect to the superannuation benefits payable to or in respect of persons who have been employed
(3) The offices referred to in subsections (1)(a) and (2)(a) of this section are the following, that is to say—
(4) Subsections (2) to (5) of section 38 of this Act shall have effect in relation to rules made under this section as they have
effect in relation to rules under that section, as if—
§ Page 19, line 41, at end insert ("and ' pension' has the meaning assigned to it by section 38(6) of this Act").
§ The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, the Amendments on the Order Paper in my name are not numbered, and if no noble Lord objects, I will take them together since they relate to the same matter. Your Lordships may remember that on the Committee stage of the Bill the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, complained that Clause 27 was too long, and he proposed a short formula. As I then pointed out, this is not, in a sense, a clause which is going to remain in this Bill; it is a new section which is to be inserted into a Superannuation Act, and therefore it has to fit the terms of that Act. Moreover, the simple formula suggested by the noble Lord would leave too much discretion to the Ministers concerned. With superannuation rights it is important that they should be exact and that everybody should know what his rights are. But attempts have been made to make this clause shorter, and this in fact has been done. There is no difference of substance.
§ The Amendments take the opportunity to tidy up three points on which the clause was not as it should be. First, they substitute for the Treasury the Minister for the Civil Service, who is now the relevant Minister for this purpose. Secondly, they tidy up a small point on the tailoring of Section 38 of the 1965 711 Act to the new section concerning supplemental and incidental provisions. Thirdly, for the avoidance of doubt, they declare that "pension" has the same meaning in the new section as it has in Section 38 of the 1965 Act, The Amendments shorten and improve the clause as it stands, while keeping the effect the same. What in substance we have done is to save about 28 lines, and I hope that the House will think that that is worth doing. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ LORD AIREDALE
My Lords I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, for having done his best to shorten this very lengthy clause, which has only the limited purpose of achieving transferability of pension rights for certain judges. I am grateful for what has been achieved, but I am sorry to say that I still cannot see why it is necessary to have both subsections (1) and (2) in this Amendment. They are almost identical except that subsection (1) beginsThe Lord Chancellor may…and subsection (2) begins:The Secretary of State may…I cannot understand why it is not possible to use the perfectly familiar device of saying "The Lord Chancellor or the Secretary of State may…", and then you have got rid of either subsection (1) or subsection (2). You have combined them into a single subsection and you have saved a number of lines on the Statute Book, which is worth while.
I regret that subsection (4) is largely incomprehensible, to me at any rate, but I realise that the general public are not going to have to wrestle with it; it is a matter which will have to be wrestled with only by those who are dealing with the limited field of arranging transferable pensions for some of the judges. I am sure that the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, basically is on my side in this matter and that he has done the best he can to shorten this very long clause. The noble and learned Lord probably wishes he had been able to shorten it a good deal more. But having had my say twice on this matter, I conclude by saying that I am thankful for small mercies.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, with respect to the noble Lord, 712 Lord Airedale, I feel that there would be considerable drafting difficulties in the formula which he suggests. One would be liable to have the Secretary of State for Scotland making rules for the pension of the Recorder of London. We ought to be grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for condensing this provision and ought not to be too grudging in our thanks.
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ An Amendment (privilege) made. Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.