§ The LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord Elwyn-Jones)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. The Bill, which extends only to Northern Ireland, is designed to improve the Statute Law in force in that part of the United Kingdom by repealing obsolete, spent, unnecessary or superseded enactments. Although most of the Bill's provisions could be effected by an Order in Council under the Northern Ireland Act 1974, the Bill follows a precedent set in 1973, when Statute Law revision matters in Northern Ireland were dealt with by Bill and not Order in Council under the Act then in force relating to direct rule. It was considered at that time, and it is a view which this Government endorse, that legislation relating solely to Statute Law revision should go through the normal Parliamentary procedure for Statute Law revision enactments and thus be dealt with by the Joint Committee on Consolidation and Statute Law Revision.
I am happy to say that the Joint Committee has kindly agreed to assume the considerable burden of scrutinising the large number of detailed repeals proposed in the Bill. The Government and, I am sure, your Lordships' House as well, are duly grateful to the Committee and especially its Chairman, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, for undertaking this task. The Committee and its Chairman perform an important function in these matters generally. This House, and indeed all users of the Statute Book, owe a great deal to them for the important part they play in the revision and consolidation of the Statute Law in England and Wales, Scotland and, for this Bill, Northern Ireland.
My Lords, the Bill repeals 41 whole Acts or their equivalent and effects repeals in 221 enactments. There is no point in my explaining the repeals in detail; your Lordships will observe that they cover a wide range of matters. In Part IX of the Schedule, for example, there are proposed for repeal certain provisions of the Grand Juries (Ireland) Act 1836 which fixed annual salaries for certain officials connected with the administration of justice. For example, a Class 819 I Prison Apothecary in County Donegal was to be paid a salary of £74 per annum, whereas a Class VI Crier at Sessions in the town of Drogheda was to be paid a mere £6. These and other important provisions are now deemed to be obsolete and will go. However, these and other provisions of the Bill will be considered by the Joint Committee in due course.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ Lord HAILSHAM of SAINT MARYLEBONE
My Lords, I should like to say that this is a very praiseworthy exercise and to join in the tribute which the noble and learned Lord has himself paid to the Chairman and Committee. I only wish that more Statutes were being repealed.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.