HL Deb 22 April 1971 vol 317 cc846-7

[No. 42]

Schedule 3, page 43, line 13, leave out from "effect" to end of line 17 and insert—

  1. "(a) as respects any premises which were, up to the appointed day, being used to any extent for business of the abolished courts, and
  2. (b) as respects the local authority who were providing the accommodation for the abolished courts."


My Lords. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 42 which is one of a little substance. If I may, I should like to take with it the linked Amendment No. 44 and deal with that at the same time. The provisions of Schedule 3, dealing with accommodation, are somewhat complicated. During the passage of this Bill some Amendments became necessary as a result of consultations with local authority associations and also, I say with gratitude, as a result of proposals by the Opposition.

As unamended, paragraph 1 of Schedule 3 imposes a duty on the local authority to which a building belongs to continue to make the premises available for the use of the Supreme Court and county courts. This did not cover adequately the position where one local authority owned the building but let it to another local authority, with the effect that the second local authority, the tenant local authority, could provide courts for assizes and quarter sessions which it was under a statutory duty to provide. In many cases the tenant authority could not be said to own the building because it was a tenant, and the word "belong" was therefore inappropriate. The Amendments make it clear that the duty to continue to provide accommodation after the appointed day will rest on the local authority which at present has the duty to provide accommodation and not on the local authority which happens to own the buildings in which the courts are provided. Where the providing authority pays rent for the premises to the owning authority, the appropriate Minister will, under paragraph 1(6), contribute a fair proportion of the rent.

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

On Question, Motion agreed to.