HL Deb 19 May 1970 vol 310 cc996-8

[No. 6]

After Clause 7, insert the following new clause:

Temporary additional judges of Patents and Registered Design Tribunals

".—(1) If it appears to the Lord Chancellor expedient, having regard to the state of business pending before the Patents Appeal Tribunal or the Registered Designs Appeal Tribunal, he may appoint—

  1. (a) a judge of the Court of Appeal; or
  2. (b) a person who has held office as a judge of the Court of Appeal or of the High Court; or
  3. (c) one of Her Majesty's counsel,
to sit and act as an additional judge of the Tribunal (either alone or with a judge of the High Court who is a judge of the Tribunal) for such period, or for the purpose of hearing such appeals, as the Lord Chancellor may specify.

(2) A person appointed to either Tribunal under this section shall, while sitting and acting as aforesaid, have all the jurisdiction of, but shall not otherwise be deemed to be, a judge of the Tribunal.

(3) The Lord Chancellor may pay to a person appointed to either Tribunal under this section (other than a judge of the Court of Appeal) such remuneration as he may determine with the approval of the Minister for the Civil Service; and any such remuneration shall be included in the expenses of the Tribunal.

(4) In this section the Patents Appeal Tribunal" means the Appeal Tribunal constituted under section 85 of the Patents Act 1949 (as amended by section 24 of the Administration of Justice Act 1969); and "the Registered Designs Appeal Tribunal" means the Appeal Tribunal constituted under section 28 of the Registered Designs Act 1949 (as so amended).

(5) In subsection (8) of the said section 85 and subsection (8) of the said section 28 (which confer power on the two Tribunals to make rules about procedure etc.), there shall in each case be inserted at the end of the subsection the words "including right of audience "."

4.21 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 6. May I also mention, and speak to, Amendment No. 63. The principal purpose of these Amendments is to allow the Lord Chancellor, when necessary, to appoint temporary additional Judges to the Patents Appeal Tribunal and the Registered Designs Appeal Tribunal. Under Section 85 of the Patents Act 1949 as subsequently amended, appeals from the Comptroller-General of Patents lie with the Patents Appeal Tribunal which consists of one or more Judges of the High Court nominated by the Lord Chancellor. The nominated Judges are, in fact, the two Patent Judges who are formally attached to the Chancery Division. Though they can sit together if they wish, the two Judges normally take appeals separately and alone.

The proceedings are not technically proceedings in the High Court because the Appeal Tribunal is a separate creature of Statute. The position is much the same under the Registered Designs Aot 1949. The work is, of course, of considerable importance in the industrial sphere. It is also highly specialised and can be done only by persons of high legal standing with experience and knowledge of patent law; or at least with a strong grounding in science, and such persons are rare. A considerable amount of work is coming into the lists of the Patents Appeal Tribunal and unless immediate steps are taken it is likely to be in serious difficulties; and in particular difficulties at the moment when the two Patent Judges have been fairly recently appointed and there are still some cases in which they have both been concerned when at the Bar. It is for these reasons that although this power will be exercised as sparingly as possible, it is one which I think is essential to the administration of justice. Amendment No. 63 is merely a consequential Amendment to Schedule No. 11.

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


My Lords, I think it would be more appropriate if my noble friend Lord Cawley were to comment on this subject, because he is one of those people who are specialised and knowledgeable in this branch of the law. I have not had a chance to speak to him about it, but I am glad to take the word of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that the situation is as described. I am sure that it is so, and in those circumstances additional Judges or Patent Appeal Commissioners or whatever it is that they are to be called, are plainly necessary. One just hopes that the power will not have to be used too often.

On Question, Motion agreed to.