HL Deb 20 February 1973 vol 339 cc53-68

5.0 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Denning.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The Lord Grenfell in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 [Removal or restoration of name at solicitor's request]:

LORD FOOT moved Amendment No. 1: Pae 2, line 15, leave out from beginning to end of line 18.

The noble Lord said: When we were discussing this Bill on Second Reading I raised a number of points, and upon most of them, I am glad to say, I got satisfactory reassurances from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning. There remain three matters which I want to bring before the Committee this afternoon. This Amendment deals with the first of them. This is the least important of the Amendments that I am proposing, because it is designed simply to get rid of what I regard as unnecessary verbiage. One object of Clause 3 is to provide, first of all, that the Law Society may … if application is made to it for that purpose by a solicitor, remove his name from the roll. It goes on to say that if a solicitor has had his name removed at his own request he can at a later stage apply for it to be reinstated on the roll; and it further provides that if the Law Society have either refused to reinstate him or neglected to deal with his application then an appeal lies to the Master of the Rolls. The clause goes on to provide that the Master of the Rolls may make various orders, confirming the refusal, or directing the Society to comply with the application, or directing the society not to comply with the application; and, finally, there is a sort of saving, mopping-up provision which says the Master of the Rolls may make such other order as he may think fit.

My suggestion is that the setting out of the various orders which the Master of the Rolls may make on such an appeal is quite unnecessary, and if my Amendment were accepted the matter would be stated in this way: On an appeal under this subsection the Master of the Rolls may make such order as he may think fit. That is the effect of the three Amendments under Clause 3. Perhaps I can take them together.

Since I raised this matter on Second Reading and I did not get any answer, the Law Society have been good enough to communicate with me with their views upon what I had to say on that occasion. They have made two points. First they say there is a precedent for the wording of this clause, setting out the various orders which the Master of the Rolls may make, and they having a sort of longstop provision at the end, in Section 13 of the 1957 Act.

I should like to say two things about that. The argument that there is a precedent for something is only a useful argument if the precedent is a good precedent. I am suggesting that the precedent is a bad one, if it is a precedent at all. The second point, which is perhaps more material, is that a glance at Section 13 of the 1957 Act will indicate two kinds of appeal which are dealt with there. One is an appeal against an ordinary case of the Law Society refusing to grant an application for a practising certificate, or neglecting to deal with the application, which is precisely the matter with which we are concerned here. In those cases the order which the Master of the Rolls or the High Court judge (as the case may be) is entitled to make is described in the way I describe it in my Amendment, not as described in the Bill.

May I read the section to which I am referring, which is Section 13(1) of the 1957 Act: If in any case not being a case to which the last foregoing section applies …"— and I can leave that aside; those are, I may say in passing, exceptional or unusual cases— … the Society on an application duly made to it refuses or neglects to issue a practising certificate, the applicant may apply to the High Court or any judge thereof or to the Master of the Rolls who may make such an order in the matter including an order for payment of costs by or to either the Society or the applicant, as shall be just. I am suggesting in my Amendment that we should have similar words to those, and that that would be quite sufficient. That is the substance of my Amendment. I suggest in fact, that, far from making the position clearer, using the form of words adopted in this clause in fact makes it a little more bewildering.

The second point which was put to me by the Law Society was that it was advantageous and helpful to anybody who may be called upon to interpret this clause to set out the main types of order which the Master of the Rolls might make, and then having this mopping-up provision under paragraph (d) allowing him to make any such other order as he might think fit. I suggest that not only to the lawyer but to any layman if you grant a right of appeal to the Master of the Rolls against a refusal of the Law Society to grant a certificate, or a refusal to reinstate a person on the roll, or neglect to deal with his application, it is perfectly obvious to anybody, lawyer or layman, without having to indicate what orders the Master of the Rolls may make. Obviously, if the application has been refused, he can make an order upholding the refusal or an order reversing the refusal. If, on the other hand, the application has just been neglected, not dealt with, he can equally make an order saying that the applicant shall be reinstated on the roll, or make an order saying that he shall not. It is perfectly obvious to anybody what sort of order he can make. But having fully set it out in that way, having stated the unnecessary, then we find this saving provision at the end … or make such other order as he may think fit". I suggest that only brings bewilderment to the person who reads the Act, because he asks himself (and I suggest he does not get an answer), what other form of order could the Master of the Rolls conceivably make? I suggest that setting out the principal orders that he can make and then introducing this sort of mopping up provision at the end does not add to the clarity but only adds to the bewilderment.

Those are the grounds on which I suggest that it would be an improvement of the Bill if unnecessary words were eliminated, and words which do not, in my view, contribute to the clarity or understanding of the Bill in any way. It is on those grounds that I beg to move.


This Amendment is one with which I sympathise in many ways. It seeks to reduce forty words in the original down to eight, but having exactly the same meaning. It deals with a case where a solicitor, on his own request, has had his name removed from the Roll, who then wishes to get it restored, and the Law Society, for some reason or other, refuse or neglect to restore him. Then this Bill provides for an appeal to the Master of the Rolls from the refusal or neglect. To make quite clear what the Master of the Rolls can do, it says in subsection (3) that he may

  1. "(a) confirm the refusal; or
  2. (b) direct the Society to comply with the application on payment of the fee by the applicant; or
  3. (c) direct the Society not to comply with the application; or
  4. (d) make such other order as he may think fit."
I suggest that that tells the Master of the Rolls and the applicant clearly what the position is.

As my noble friend says, there are precedents. There are precedents each way, so we choose, as always, between them. Section 13(2) of the 1957 Act is in substantially the same way of drafting as the present Bill. That is where the Law Society refuse, on various grounds, to grant a practising certificate, or put conditions to it. Section 13(1), to which my noble friend referred, is none of those cases, but when the Law Society neglects, or refuses, to issue a certificate.

This is really a drafting point. The wording of the clause, as it stands at the moment, is perfectly clear and, with respect, there is no need to cut it down for the sake of clarity and brevity. Therefore, I would ask my noble friend not to press this Amendment.


I do not want to prolong this matter at all. May I simply say that I am afraid that, in spite of his persuasion. I do not agree with the noble and learned Lord. But in not agreeing with him, I am in fairly good company, because he sometimes disagrees with the House of Lords. In those circumstances I am not going to say anything more about it, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clauses 4 to 10 agreed to.

Clause 11 [Management of and grants from Compensation Fund]:

5.14 p.m.

LORD FOOT moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 7, line 6, at end insert ("and there shall be added at the end of paragraph 2 the words— (c) the Council shall not raise the annual contribution above fifteen pounds without the "consent" of the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls".")

The noble Lord said: I think that this is a matter of more importance than the one we were discussing just now, and it concerns the Compensation Fund. Under Schedule 2 of the principal Act—that is the Act of 1957—it was provided that the Council of the Law Society could cause an annual contribution to be made by all practising solicitors towards this Fund, but it provided that the amount of the levy, or contribution, to be made annually should not exceed £10. Clause 11(1) of the present Bill seeks to strike out that upper limit of £10, and remove the limit altogether. That is the substance and effect of Clause 11(1).

If that is done, and it is left there, what will be the result? The result will be that the Law Society, in its wisdom, will be able to fix the rate of contribution at whatever level they like, and there is no kind of appeal against their decision and no kind of redress by anyone who may feel aggrieved at what they have done. I well understand the difficulty of inserting an upper limit, although that was not a difficulty that was foreseen when the £10 limit was put down. I appreciate that there are difficulties in fixing a new limit because we live in inflationary days, and within a short period of time any limit that may be put upon the contribution may become unrealistic and out of date. I realise that there is that difficulty, and that if that happens, and you have a limit and it proves unrealistic, it would be necessary to pass another Act of Parliament in order to put it right. However, I think that there is serious objection in principle to the abandonment of the limit altogether.

This contribution that solicitors have to make to the Compensation Fund is in the nature of a tax, and the rate of tax is decided now by the Law Society and, under the provisions of this Bill, without any upper limit. I should have thought that that was objectionable in principle. Supposing that the Law Society misdirect themselves as to how they ought to work out the contribution, and supposing an individual solicitor feels aggrieved at the figure to which they have lifted the levy, what redress has he? He has none whatever. Here you have what is, in effect, a tax being levied, and the rate being decided not by Parliament but by a statutory body like the Law Society. I should have thought that there were manifest objections to legislating in that way.

My proposal for putting it right is a very simple one. It is not that the Law Society should not be able to fix a higher rate; it is merely to make an amendment to paragraph (2) of Schedule 2 to the 1957 Act to provide that, while the Council shall be prepared to fix a new rate without limit, the Council shall not raise the annual contribution above fifteen pounds"— that is purely an arbitrary figure— without the 'consent' of the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls". May I say immediately that I shall be perfectly content if it is left to the consent of the Master of the Rolls alone.

I suggest that this Amendment does no harm to the Bill, but it will ensure that the calculations that are made by the Law Society as to what should be the proposed contribution to be made by solicitors to this Fund will not be a matter entirely for them, but will be a matter that will be reviewed by the Master of the Rolls. It must be remembered that not all solicitors are members of the Law Society.

It might be said, "If the Law Society do something silly, then the thing to do is to get rid of the Council. "But some solicitors are not members of the Law Society, and under this provision it is the Law Society that will have absolute discretion as to the levy which is to he made upon solicitors, whether they be members of the Law Society or not. I suggest that that is wrong in principle and that there would be an adequate safeguard if my Amendment were accepted. I beg to move.


The original object of the clause as it stands was to take away the limit of £10 in connection with the Compensation Fund to which solicitors contribute in order to meet cases of money being lost due to the dishonesty of solicitors. That figure of £10 is now completely out of date and the whole object of this clause is to remove that amount. As regards my noble friend's proposal, I understand that the Law Society take the view that this is, so to speak, a matter which the profession itself can regulate, just as insurance premiums are regulated. On the other hand, solicitors who may not be members of the Law Society are affected, and in all the circumstances, although I should not regard the sum as a levy or a tax, it might be felt by some people to be more satisfactory if there were someone outside keeping an eye on events. I should not like to suggest that the Lord Chancellor or the Lord Chief Justice ought necessarily to be involved, but I think that we should be prepared to look at this point again. Perhaps the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls would be sufficient—not if the figure were to be lowered, but if it were to be raised. So we might look at this matter again before the Report stage and perhaps have an agreed Amendment then. With that assurance, perhaps my noble friend will not press the Amendment.


Before the noble Lord says anything about his desire or otherwise to withdraw the Amendment, may I say that to some extent I regard myself as a trustee of the public interest in this matter. We are talking about the size of the Compensation Fund to compensate members of the public against the rare cases where there has been dishonesty in the solicitors' profession. Both the noble Lord, Lord Foot, and my noble and learned friend the Master of the Rolls think that the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor have nothing whatever to say in the matter. But the giving of consent will be to add to the protection of the public, and the withholding of it will be to reduce the protection of the public. I really could not accept that Parliament is not concerned with the degree of protection which the public have and, although I have absolute confidence in the discretion and wisdom of the present Master of the Rolls, and indeed of any possible successor that he might conceivably have, I do not think that I could accept the constitutional doctrine that he alone could limit the protection of the public, since he is not himself responsible to Parliament and I think that Parliament is concerned in this sort of matter.


I tried to rise before the noble and learned Lord, and I apologise for rising after him to make a single brief observation. I remember when this procedure was introduced. I think the overwhelming majority of solicitors were infinitely grateful for a provision which protected them from the scandal of clients being victimised by fraudulent solicitors. We used to say that the number was always multiplied by four, because the newspapers published a headline saying, "Solicitor arrested" or "Solicitor disappears", then they published a headline saying, "Solicitor charged", then they published a headline saying, "Solicitor convicted", and then they published a headline saying "Solicitor struck off the Rolls". The public always counted that as four solicitors and that made the picture much worse than it was. But there was satisfaction in what was then the voluntary act of the Society, though it may have been incorporated in legislation; and, certainly, the impetus for many of these reforms has come from the Law Society. As one who has never been lavish in my praise of them, I am happy to say that this Bill does them infinite credit in many respects.

I remember one quite unexpected claim many years ago, running to something like seven figures, in the case of an immense company going into liquidation. The Society have been able to act and they want to continue to be able to act. On the other hand, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Foot, without trying to sit on both sides of the fence, that perhaps some limit should be put into the Bill at Report stage, although I should not want it to be anything like so low as the figure he suggests. I should want it to be a figure which makes it clear that the Law Society can say, "We are protecting everybody".

I did not make any comment at any previous stage of the Bill. We discussed this subject last year. I am sorry about that silly letter about Mr. Hinds. I can imagine the Law Society, having permitted a silly letter to go out, finding it difficult to repudiate it. I do not know who wrote it. I have thought of inquiring about the facts, but it seemed to me an impertinence to ask for information which had been refused to a former Lord Chancellor, a man of high distinction. I think the letter was a little discourteous and a little silly. There may well have been reasons for it which they could have put forward quite simply, to explain the action which they took in that case, but it would be improper of me to go into other details. I hope that this Bill will make sufficient provision for the Law Society to know that they can fulfil that obligation to the victims of fraudulent solicitors, and I am sure that almost every solicitor would want to see that done.


May I say to the noble Lord, Lord Hale, that it is very far from my mind to try to make arrangements whereby the Compensation Fund might not be sufficient to meet the demands upon it. Nothing could be further from my mind than that. I entirely accept that the contribution which is levied must be one which will maintain the Fund at a satisfactory level. But, having said that, I think the argument now is between the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, as to whether or not the Lord Chancellor ought to be brought in. I am perfectly content to let the matter rest as the noble Lord, Lord Denning, suggested, and between now and the next stage of the Bill we may be able to find a form of words which will meet my point and that of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. In those circumstances, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 11 agreed to.

Clauses 12 to 19 agreed to.

Clause 20 [Citation, commencement and extent]:

5.29 p.m.

LORD FOOT moved Amendment No. 5: Page 13, line 40, at end insert ("but shall in any event come into operation not later than 12 months after this Act receives the Royal Assent.").

The noble Lord said: If I may say so, I think that here there is a point of some substance and importance. It is certainly the most important of the three matters which I have taken leave to draw to the attention of the Committee. Clause 20(2) provides—and this is common form in all kinds of Acts of Parliament—that: This Act shall come into operation on such day as the Lord Chancellor may by order made by statutory instrument appoint and different dates may be so appointed for different provisions of this Act.

When I spoke on Second Reading I put my argument rather in this way. I speculated as to what might be the position if, for example, in the course of the passage of this Bill through your Lordships' House or through the other place, some Amendment was carried which did not commend itself to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. I speculated as to whether, if that happened, it would not be possible for the Lord Chancellor simply to fail to activate that particular Amendment by failing to produce any Order in Council to put it into operation. The noble and learned Lord, when he replied to me, said he thought that that was a fanciful suggestion, and that he did not think that any Lord Chancellor, least of all himself, would dream of doing any such thing. But he went on to say, towards the end of his speech, that, nevertheless, if I wanted to resume the discussion on the Committee stage and I could think of any better way of doing it which would not compromise the whole system of commencement provisions in other cases, then he, the Lord Chancellor, would not close his mind to putting fetters upon his power which in any event he would exercise only upon advice and which he would endeavour to do in accordance with the wishes of Parliament. I now take leave to raise the matter, as the noble and learned Lord suggested I might, at this Committee stage, and I should like to put the argument slightly differently because I think there is a point of some constitutional importance here.

Let us leave aside the possibility of an Amendment being carried of which the Lord Chancellor did not approve, and let us assume that this Bill goes through without amendment, or without an Amendment of any substance, and goes through with the approval of the Lord Chancellor. Nevertheless, afterwards, what is to stop the Lord Chancellor from simply failing to bring into operation some particular clause of the Bill? That, whatever the noble and learned Lord may say to me, is certainly not fanciful; and I say that it is not fanciful for the very good reason that if one looks back to Section 14 of the Act of 1965 one finds there a provision which deals with the matter of what is to happen when a solicitor who is in practice on his own dies. What was provided in Section 14 of the 1965 Act was that in those circumstances the Law Society would have the right to go in and take over the management of the solicitor's clients' account; and that, as I understand it, was incorporated in the Act of 1965, with universal agreement. But that provision has never been activated, has never been brought into operation, by successive Lord Chancellors during the last eight years. I do not know the reason for that, but I would say this. Parliament thought at that time that by passing Section 14 it was putting in a provision which was for the protection of the clients of solicitors and was therefore for the protection of the public. They obviously thought it was a very desirable thing to do; and, as a result of successive Lord Chancellors not have chosen to activate it and bring it into operation, the public have been deprived of the protection which Parliament intended them to have—and they have been deprived of it for a period of eight years.

Nobody can argue that this is not a matter of importance because we find that in Clause 6 of this Bill the substance of what was in Section 14 of the 1965 Bill is in fact being re-enacted. Therefore, there can be no doubt that this matter of providing some protection to clients when a solicitor in practice on his own dies is a matter regarded by everybody, including the Law Society, as being a matter of importance. What we therefore find is that because Lord Chancellors have not decided to activate that particular section the public, as I say, have been left without that protection which Parliament intended them to have. I suggest that that raises a constitutional issue of some importance, and that it should not be within the power of the Executive to thwart the will of Parliament and to prevent being brought into effect something which Parliament wanted to achieve.

This argument has a wider application, and if some time later on there is a wider argument about the proprietary of clauses of this kind in Measures of a different sort, then I would welcome that because I think it is something at which we ought to look. All I am proposing in this Amendment is that we should meet the situation by adding, at the end of Clause 20(2), the words: but shall"— that is, the Act— in any event come into operation not later than 12 months after this Act receives the Royal Assent". I do not know whether I have the wording right, but I think the object I have in mind will be perfectly clear. I hope that this is an Amendment which the Committee will think is important; and if in this Bill we set a precedent which may be followed in other Bills later on—that is, of putting a sort of limit upon the time that a particular provision of a Bill can be left in limbo—then I respectfully suggest that it is a precedent worth setting. I beg to move.


Before my noble and learned friend the Master of the Rolls declares the attitude of the sponsors of the Bill, I think I ought to say a word or two about what the noble Lord. Lord Foot, has just said. The utility of commencement provisions has been universally recognised in Parliament, and I think has never really been seriously questioned before; and, as I said on Second Reading, I should be very sorry to see anything whatever which would interfere with the utility of it. The idea that you could create a precedent covering the whole field of legislation by introducing an Amendment to a privately-sponsored Private Member's Bill on the subject of solicitors does not appeal to me at all, and I hope it will not appeal to the Committee if the noble Lord puts it forward in that way. If in fact it is put forward in that way. I should be bound to advise the Committee to reject it, although I hope the noble Lord may put it forward in a less extreme or generalised form, in which case I have no very strong feelings except those which I am about to express.

The noble Lord raised the point about Section 14 of the Solicitors Act 1965, and said that that section had never been activated by the Lord Chancellor. Of course, so far as this is a criticism of anybody it is a criticism of the noble and learned Lord whom I now see reposing below the gangway opposite; but lest he should have forgotten the point let me rise vigorously to his defence. The section was not activated because it proved, so the office believed, to be unworkable; and I am bound to say that I have not known a single question raised by any Member of either House to suggest that it should be activated. It is reproduced in a modified form in one of the clauses of this Bill, to which the noble Lord himself drew attention; and, as I have said on numerous ocasions, both last year and this, since that section. like every other section of the Bill, meets with my wholehearted approval, it is not likely that it will be sabotaged by me, at any rate, if I remain in office after this Bill becomes law, if it does.

There is only one other thing I should like to say. Part of the utility of commencement provisions resides in the fact that some of the provisions of most legislation are enabling in character; in other words, you do not bring the provisions of Parts of an enabling Act into force until you have the machinery to implement them. That, I should have thought, is elementary, and that is largely why the commencement provisions are applied. It is evident that the great majority of the provisions of this Bill ought to be brought into force at or about the passing of the Act—like most provisions of most legislation—but some of them manifestly cannot be. I have not yet given the matter adequate thought; but I draw attention to Clause 7 which is an enabling provision of a very complicated kind providing for arrangements to be made for solicitors accepting liability for negligence. It is one of the most promising advances made between the Bill this year and the Bill last year. Again, lest the noble Lord should suppose in any way that I wish to postpone that beneficial provision, I draw attention to the fact that all these provisions have my full support and that I lavished praise on this particular clause in the Second Reading debate.

But I wonder whether one could sensibly bring the clause into operation at a given date inserted in the Bill unless one could be absolutely sure that the machinery to implement it, which is evidently of a complicated kind, was available at the date by which the clause was to be brought into effect. Therefore the Committee has in the end to choose between an automatic commencement date, to come down like a guillotine if the Lord Chancellor has not exercised his power at the end of twelve months, and a commencement date which is subject to the Executive. It so happens that as this is a Private Member's Bill, privately sponsored, the actual commencement date, except as a matter of convenience to the public and the Law Society, is a matter of a certain degree of indifference to me. I am prepared to be used as a public convenience, but if I am to be used as a public convenience I resolutely refuse to be treated as a whipping boy at the same time. If it is convenient to have a commencement date operated by the Lord Chancellor, as I suppose, I should be happy to operate in that way; but to talk in grandoise terms about the Executive and Parliament is wholly inappropriate in a measure of this kind and I am bound to say that if it were proposed in that sense I should strongly resist it.


The Law Society and, I think, all of us would wish this Bill to be brought into operation at the earliest possible moment. For that reason, I would view with sympathy this Amendment to this clause. In a way, what my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor has said about Clause 7 does not really present any difficulty because that does not say arrangements are to be made; it simply gives the Law Society power to make arrangements; and even that could be brought in almost at once without difficulty, because it does not say when they have to make the arrangements. Nevertheless, having heard what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor says, I feel that it might prejudice the chances of this Bill and its promotion by the Committee to take any different view from that of the Lord Chancellor on it. In view of the constitutional implications involved, I hope that my noble friend will not press this Amendment.


I must say that I listened with some surprise to the explanation given by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor as to why Section 14 of the 1965 Act has never been brought into operation. Here was a clause, as I tried to point out, which was regarded by Parliament as being important and as being desirable for the protection of the public; and the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor tells us the reason why it was not activated by his predecessor by himself is that they came to the conclusion that it was unworkable.


I said that it had not been brought into effect by my predecessor for that reason. So far as I know, the matter has never been mooted with me in the three years in which I have been Lord Chancellor; and until I received information on the subject I was wholly innocent of the existence of the problem at all. Which seems to indicate that although the noble Lord seems to be convinced that Parliament attached a great deal of importance to it, the importance that this Parliament attaches to it on either side of either House seems to be minimal.


I do not know how the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor can say that Parliament regards the importance of this as minimal; because in Clause 6 of this Bill we are re-enacting in substance the very thing contained in Section 14 of the 1965 Act. How can it be contended that Parliament does not regard it as a matter of importance? This is not a personal matter. I am not criticising the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, or the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. I am pointing out, and I think I am entitled to do so, that it is not a sufficient answer for the Executive to come along and say that they did not bring this into effect because they thought it was hopeless and quite unworkable and that Parliament had done something silly. That is the explanation given by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor as the reason why this provision has not been activated. I can only say that I regard it as a wholly unsatisfactory answer. It seems to me to be treating Parliament with contempt to say that something which Parliament has said ought to be done is not regarded as fitting to be done.

I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, was holding out any hope to me that between now and the next stage of the Bill this matter could be looked at again; but, with all respect to the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, I take the view that it is a matter of consequence and importance and that we should try to get it right. I am not at all satisfied with the answer I received from him; but in the belief that the noble and learned Lord who is sponsoring this Bill will he prepared to look at it again—


We are as anxious as anyone that it should get through as quickly as possible without difficulty. One would like to look at it again at the next stage.


In that event, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment, and I thank the noble and learned Lord for his assurance.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Remaining clause and Schedules agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported without Amendment.


My Lords, I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning (because I understand it is open to him to do so) would now wish to move that the Report be now received. I cannot put that Question unless he does.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Report be now received.

Moved, That the Report be now received.—(Lord Denning.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.