§ 2.55 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD ELWYN-JONES)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time. The Bill proposes the repeal of 40 whole Acts and parts of 117 other Acts which are no longer of practical utility. There are 14 different categories of enactments proposed for repeal. Your Lordships will have noticed that this is the second Statute Law (Repeals) Bill to be introduced this year. This reflects a great deal on the hard work of the two Law Commissions in their continuing commitment to prune the Statute Book. I am sure that the House will be grateful to them for undertaking this valuable task.
I do not think that there are any particular points in the Bill which I ought to draw to your Lordships' attention, but if any noble Lord has any questions on the Bill I have conveniently 541 available the Law Commissions' admirable notes upon it and I will try to answer them. There will be an opportunity to raise questions on any of the enactments proposed for repeal when the Bill comes before the House again on recommitment after being scrutinised by the Joint Committee.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
My Lords, may I add a few words to what has been said by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor? Not only we in this House but the country as a whole should be grateful for the excellent work that has been done in respect of these matters. Those of us who are in practice in the law know very well how difficult it is to wade through a number of Acts which no longer have any significance. I remember that some years ago there was an Act in force which compelled every hackney carriage, which includes taxis, to carry a load of hay. That had not been repealed several years ago and I do not know whether it has yet been repealed. Perhaps my noble and learned friend will devote his attention to that aspect of a peculiar situation which may still exist. I believe that everybody in this House will approve what the Government have been doing in a very efficient way in accepting the recommendations that have been put forward.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Janner for the tribute he has paid to the Law Commission and to the Law Commission of Scotland. Their hard work in this important task is of great assistance to Parliament and to the administration of justice. I will pass on this word of recognition to the members of the Law Commission. As to the esoteric matter that the noble Lord has raised, I will investigate it and communicate with him in due course.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a and committed to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.