HL Deb 27 June 1977 vol 384 cc932-50

4.50 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 Banks.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The Viscount HOOD in the Chair.]

Clause 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 [Qualifications for registration]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendment Nos. 1 to 4 en bloc:

Page 2, line 19, leave out ("for a period of not less than five years")

Page 2, line 21, leave out ("authorised insurer") and insert ("insurance company, for a period of not less than five years")

Page 2, line 25, leave out ("for a period of not less than three years")

Page 2, line 27, leave out ("authorised insurer") and insert ("insurance company, for a period of not less than three years").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendments Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 en bloc. Amendments Nos. 2 and 4 replace references to an "authorised insurer" by references to an "insurance company". They also, together with Amendments Nos. 1 and 3, change the order of words in paragraphs (e) and (f) of subsection (1) to make the drafting consistent with other paragraphs in the subsection. The words "or by an authorised insurer" were added at the end of paragraph (e) and (f) as a result of an Amendment accepted in another place. On reflection, however, those words are not quite appropriate. They are obviously intended to mean any insurer doing business in the United Kingdom, but the phrase "authorised insurer" is in fact defined in Clause 29(1), in view of its use in Clause 12(3), to mean only insurers authorised to carry on liability or pecuniary loss insurance business. In those circumstances, the phrase "insurance company" expresses the intention of Clause 3(1) more accurately than "authorised insurer". For those reasons, I beg to move.


The noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, is unable to be here this afternoon and has asked me to speak on his behalf and on behalf of the Bill's Promoter in another place, Mr. John Page. I should begin by declaring an interest in that I am the director of a life and pension subsidiary of a firm of Lloyd's brokers.

I should like to make it clear that I accept this Amendment; I think that it is a more appropriate choice of words. Perhaps it would be for the convenience of the Committee if I were to make it clear at this point that I accept all the Amendments that the noble Lord, Lord Oram, is to move on behalf of the Government. I am grateful to him and to his Department for their help with this Bill.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 [List of bodies corporate carrying on business as insurance brokers]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 5: Page 3, line 17, leave out from ("of") to ("to") in line 18 and insert ("all bodies corporate which are entitled under this section")

The noble Lord said: Subsection (1) at present requires the Council to keep a list of names, addresses and other particulars of bodies corporate that are, entitled under subsection (2) below to be enrolled therein". However, bodies corporate may also become entitled to be enrolled in the list under subsection (4) as Lloyd's brokers. This Amendment is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the list includes Lloyd's brokers as well as those who qualify for enrolment under subsection (2). I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5 [Appeals against refusal to register or enroll]:


If Amendment No. 6 is agreed, I shall not be able to call Amendment No. 7.

Lord BANKS moved Amendment No. 6: Page 3, line 39, leave out from beginning to ("appeal") in line 42 and insert ("Before refusing an application for registration under section 3 of this Act or an application for enrolment under section 4 of this Act, the Council shall give the person by whom or the body corporate by which the application was made an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a committee of the Council.

(1A) Where the Council refuse any such application, the Council shall, if so required by the person by whom or the body corporate by which the application was made within seven days from notification of the decision, serve on that person or body a statement of the reasons therefor.

(1B) A person or body corporate whose application is so refused may within twenty-eight days from—

  1. (a) notification of the decision, or
  2. (b) if a statement of reasons has been required under subsection (1A) above, service of the statement,").

The noble Lord said: The Bill provides for a right of appeal where an insurance broker or a body corporate is refused registration by the Insurance Brokers Registration Council. This is a right of appeal to the High Court, the Court of Session in Scotland, or a judge of the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland. The Bill does not provide for an insurance broker or a body corporate to receive a statement of the reasons for a refusal of registration. There are precedents for this; for instance, the Housing Act 1974 provides no appeal of any kind against a refusal of the Housing Corporation to register a housing association. In another place, Mr. Freeson, speaking for the Government, discussing this matter on 16th May. 1974, said: I now come to the difficult question of confidentiality of information. Grounds for complaint about competence or incompetence, or the standards being maintained by a housing society or a housing association, may depend largely upon confidential information and understanding. It would be difficult to tackle those matters effectively by means of an appeal procedure. Under the Solicitors' Act 1974, Section 3, there is no appeal against a decision of the Law Society to refuse to give an applicant a certificate that they are satisfied, inter alia, as to his character and his suitability to be a solicitor. Without such a certificate no one can be admitted as a solicitor.

Nevertheless, and in spite of the precedents, Clause 15(6) of the Bill before us provides that, where the name of an insurance broker or a body corporate is removed from the register or the list, that individual or body shall receive a statement of the Committee's reasons therefor. The Promoters of the Bill have become persuaded that it would be right to allow for a similar statement of reasons to be provided if requested when enrolment is refused, and this the Amendment does. The Amendment also provides that, before an application for enrolment is refused, an individual or body shall have the opportunity to appear before and to be heard by a committee of the Council.

It will be clear that this Amendment goes rather further than the Amendment in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, Amendment No. 7. I hope he will feel that this Amendment in fact achieves his aim. I feel that, together with the appeal to the High Court, it provides the applicant with every necessary safeguard. I beg to move.

The Earl of SELKIRK

I would very much like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Banks, for moving this Amendment on behalf of the Promoters and, I believe, in some sort of clandestine relationship with the Government. That gives it added strength, so I am given to understand. I put down an Amendment, which was shorter but not so fully spelled out as that of the noble Lord, Lord Banks, because I felt it was quite wrong that anyone should appeal to the court without knowing what was in any statement against him. I felt it was essential that, before anyone had an appeal to the court, he should know exactly what was being held against him.

Two types of people will come into the register: the first is the new entrant, and no particular difficulty arises in respect of the new entrant. But there is another type of person, somebody who claims that he has been an insurance broker perhaps for many years; if he fails to get on to the register for any reason, his way of living will be fundamentally affected. It may not necessarily take his job away from him, but he will no longer be entitled to call himself an insurance broker. That creates a monopoly of the words, "insurance broker". Therefore, it is very important that he should have a proper opportunity to answer any suggestions made against him, against the high integrity with which he conducts his business and against his good name. Certainly, if he goes to court, he should know exactly what it is that is held against him.

There are various things in life—such as rumour and stories—that can and cannot happen. It is fair that a man who may be personally affected by this should have the fullest opportunity to state his case. For that reason I warmly welcome the proposal of the noble Lord, Lord Banks, and thank him very much for moving his Amendment.


I should like to indicate the Government's support of the Amendment which has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Banks, and welcome the fact that the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, has indicated his support for the Amendment—presumably he is satisfied that his own will fall. Some concern has been voiced in the Press about the Council's ability to refuse to give an unsuccessful applicant for registration or enrolment its reasons for turning him down. In the Government's view it is right that the Council should give applicants for registration or enrolment a right to be heard before an application is refused and, if asked to do so, should tell the applicant the reasons for refusal. However, in our view it would not be sensible for such hearings and provision of reasons to be mandatory, as it may well often be in the interests of both parties to settle matters informally and without recourse to these procedures. I suggest that this Amendment would provide a useful balance between the rights of refused brokers and the vital need to operate a system of registration that is effective in keeping out unsuitable applicants.

I also accept that it would be useful to introduce time limits in respect of appeals to the court and requests for reasons for refusal. If cases dragged on indefinitely the system of registration would become very difficult to administer. Moreover, the limit of 28 days provided for in the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Banks, fits in with the provision of Clause 18(1) in relation to erasure from the register. Therefore, I hope that the Committee will be able to accept this Amendment.


Before the noble Lord, Lord Banks, replies, perhaps I could ask a question. Would it not be rather difficult for appeals to be heard on this unless there is a definition of an "insurance broker" to which a refusal could be applicable? Of course, I am aware that in the White Paper the EEC definition has been accepted by the Promoters, but I should have thought that it was usual for such a definition to be included in a Bill dealing with this subject. After all, if it is the subject of a Directive it is usual—it may even be mandatory—to include in the legislation itself the substance of the Directive, if it is not already the law of the country. As it arises particularly out of this Amendment, with which I am wholly in agreement, could this not be considered for the next stage of the Bill.


I can certainly undertake to consider very carefully the point which has been made by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn. However, I should not have thought that there would be any difficulty in hearing an appeal because the court would have to decide whether the person whose application had been turned down qualified in the very clear terms set out in the Bill. If he did so qualify in the view of the court the court could quash any refusal that had been made. I do not think that it presents a difficulty, but I shall certainly be happy to think further about it.

I should like to thank the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, and the noble Lord on behalf of the Government for their support. I express the hope that the Committee will support the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


As a result of Amendment No. 6 being agreed, I cannot call Amendment No. 7.

5.5 p.m.

The Earl of SELKIRK moved Amendment No. 8: Page 4, line 7, leave out from ("fit") to end of line.

The noble Earl said: I have tabled this Amendment because in the Bill there are two points at which a decision on qualifications must be made by the Council. One is in this case when we admit applicants and the other occurs in Clause 18(1) where the names might be erased from the register or list. In the second case there is no limitation that the decision of the court is final, whereas in the first case there is a statement that the decision of the court—which I suppose must mean the court of first instance to which an individual or body may be taken—is final. There are two types of people. There is the new entrant, who I think causes no difficulty. The other is a man who may have been practising in this line of business for a considerable number of years and to all intents and purposes is in virtually the same position as the registered person whose name will be erased.

In the second part of the Bill—Clauses 13 to 18—a very careful and admirable procedure is laid down as to how erasure from the register should be carried out. The procedure in Clause 5 is very much more abbreviated but can still be regarded as just as serious to the man himself. He may have been engaged, or claims to be engaged, in a line of business and then is told that he cannot continue to work under the name under which he has worked for a very long time. In effect, that means that either his competence or his good name is brought into question. I recognise that in insurance a good name probably signifies a higher standard than in any other line of business. There is no other line of business where bona fides holds quite the same standard—and quite rightly—as it does there.

However, it cuts both ways. If a man is in that line of business then any scratch on his escutcheon—his name—is of extreme importance. Therefore, I wonder whether it would not be wise to omit these words and let the appeal run in the few cases where it marginally might happen. In remote cases it could be carried further instead of being confined finally to the court. I know there is the argument that this would drag matters out, and I quite appreciate that no one wants these things dragged out. There is also the argument that a person might be acting by legal aid. If he were, he would be struck at by Clause 11, which lays down that a broker must have a certain degree of financial resources. It is extremely improbable that any case could possibly be taken by legal aid.

If a man did pursue a case he must have something very determined or real to say, otherwise he would be involved in personal expenditure, which would be very unlikely. It is within the knowledge of the Committee that once in a while some case crops up. It, so to speak, hangs on the public conscience. I shall not mention names but I think that names will occur to most of your Lordships. It would happen rarely and if it was thought that something had gone wrong and an appeal had been prevented, it might linger in the public mind. It is rarely that it would happen, and it would only happen in the initial stages because at the end of two years this matter would be completely finished and then you would only deal with new entrants, and it is inconceivable that any claim would come from new entrants in the same way.

This is a case of a man's good name. It is not a question of a big sum of money. But there is nothing dearer or more important to anybody than whether his own name stands high, and whether or not we should inhibit in any way his possibility of claiming examination of this in the highest quarter is something I should like the Committee to consider. I think that it would be right and proper to put this clause on the same basis as Clause 18. I guess that it would happen most likely in no cases, or in very few cases, but I should like your Lordships to consider this question because there is nothing more important than a man's good name, and nothing which he will struggle more to try and maintain. I beg to move.

5.12 p.m.


This Amendment, as the noble Earl has explained, would permit a further appeal from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and on to your Lordships' House sitting in its Judicial capacity. While I do not object to this I wonder whether it is necessary. It was felt that there must be a right of appeal; that it was necessary to have an outside check by an impartial body notwithstanding some precedents to the contrary, to which I have already referred. The High Court was chosen as an appropriate and acceptable body to do this. If the High Court confirm a decision of the Council, is not that sufficient? Is there perhaps a danger of making the enrolment procedure and registration procedure too cumbersome.

If we look at other professions we find in a wide variety of cases that there is an appeal to one body but to one body only; the decision of that body is conclusive. The Architects Registration Act 1938, Section 2, provides an appeal to a tribunal of appeal whose decision is final and conclusive; in the Medical Act 1956, Section 24, appeal lies to the PrivyCouncil, but there is no further appeal; in the Opticians Act 1958, Section 3, appeal lies to the Privy Council, but again no further appeal; in the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act 1960, Section 3, the appeal lies to the council for professions supplementary to medicine, but there is no further appeal; in the Hearing Aid Council Act 1968, Section 2, the appeal lies to the Disciplinary Committee of the Hearing Aid Council, but there is no further appeal; finally, in the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975, Section 9, the appeal lies to the disciplinary committee of the Farriers Registration Council, but there is no further appeal. In all these cases it has been felt that so long as you have one impartial body to which an appeal can be made from a decision against registration, that is sufficient.

It is important to point out—and indeed the noble Earl pointed this out—that somebody who is refused registration, or a body which is refused enrolment, is able to continue in business and can continue in exactly the same way as before but they must not use the title "insurance broker". It is not a question of their not being able to practise, as with other professions, if they are refused. Therefore, it seems to me that in view of that fact, and in view of these precedents, it would be sufficient to leave the appeal to the one body as provided for in the Bill, the High Court, but again I would be influenced by the feelings of the Committee.


I have listened carefully to the arguments put forward by the noble Earl and to the counter-arguments which the noble Lord, Lord Banks, has advanced. I feel that I should appeal to the noble Earl to consider withdrawing this Amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Banks, has indicated quite a number of precedents and the drafting of the Bill, as at present, would be in line with those precedents. I accept that one does not necessarily do now exactly as in other cases, but since there is this formidable list of precedents I think that that is something to be borne in mind.

Secondly, the right of appeal to a higher court, if granted, could be exercised by the Council, as well as the individual broker as the noble Earl had in mind, and such a right of appeal exercised by the Council might not be in the interests of the individual applicant. Those are points which I hope the noble Earl will take into account. Indeed, having carefully considered this matter we consider that the right of appeal to tile High Court is sensible and adequate, and it seems rather excessive to provide further rights of appeal to an insurance broker whose registration has been refused.

As the noble Lord, Lord Banks, pointed out, we should bear in mind that the refusal means simply that the broker would not be allowed to use the reserved name "insurance broker"; it would not mean that he would be thrown out of business. The noble Earl, quite understandably, quoted the situation under Clause 18 in connection with erasures and suggested that here we should put it on all fours with Clause 18. Under Clause 18 there is no reference to the High Court's decision being final and therefore appeals could be taken further in that context. But we consider it to be reasonable that this right should be available in cases of erasure but not in cases of refusal to register.

It is a much more serious matter for a registered broker to be ejected from his profession than for registration to be refused at the outset. It is apparent from an examination of Clauses 3 to 5, and from comparing them with Clauses 15 to 20, that there are many differences of detail between the grounds and procedures for refusing registration or enrolment and those for erasing an already registered or enrolled broker, and I do not think that it is valid to expect uniformity of the appeals procedure in each case. Because erasure is an even more serious matter than initial refusal of registration, the procedures governing it are more fully elaborated in the Bill and in carrying them out arguments of law are much more likely to arise in those cases. I suggest that that is another valid reason for providing a fuller opportunity for appeal in the case of erasure than in the case of initial refusal. I believe in what I have said, and indeed in what the noble Lord, Lord Banks, has said, that there is a sufficient case for the noble Earl to consider again whether his Amendment is necessary. Having listened to what we have both said, I hope that he will see fit to withdraw his Amendment.


May I ask a question on this? I take it that nothing would prevent—I do not think that there is anything in the Bill about this—a subsequent application for registration, for example, if in the first instance the Council decided that the reason for refusal was that the person had not yet had sufficient experience of the insurance industry.


There would be nothing to prevent a later application.

The Earl of SELKIRK

I moved this Amendment but I do not feel particularly strongly about it. If I may marginally differ from the noble Lord, Lord Oram, I think that there is not much difference between de-registering and taking the name away which a man has practised under for a long time. It is a very marginal distinction. However, I do not propose to press this, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 6 to 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 [Code of conduct]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 9: Page 7, line 32, after ("up") insert ("and from time to time revise").

The noble Lord said: I should like at the same time to speak to Amendments Nos. 16, 17 and 19. These are drafting Amendments to clarify the powers of the council under Clause 10 in relation to the amendment of the Code of Conduct. It is obviously right that the Council should have the power, indeed the duty, under Clause 10 to amend or revise the Code of Conduct as well as to draw it up initially. I am advised that the Interpretation Act provision which enables this to be left unsaid in the case of rules and regulations may not apply in the case of a statement as under Clause 10. These Amendments accordingly make it clear that the Council is to revise the Code of Conduct from time to time. Amendments Nos. 16, 17 and 19 provide consequentially for use of the same term, "revise", in the case of the Secretary of State's power to approve and amend the Code of Conduct under Clause 27(1) and (3).

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.23 p.m.

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 10: Page 7, line 33, leave out from ("by") to end of line 35 and insert ("registered insurance brokers or enrolled bodies corporate, or by registered insurance brokers or enrolled bodies corporate in particular circumstances").

The noble Lord said: With the permission of the Committee, I will speak at the same time to Amendments Nos. 11 and 12. These are essentially drafting Amendments to make it clear that the Code of Conduct and rules under Clauses 11 and 12 may make different provisions for different circumstances, for example for different classes of insurance business as well as for different descriptions of broker. The Amendments also make the wording of the three clauses more consistent in this respect. As at present drafted, there is provision for a certain degree of flexibility in the application of the rules under Clauses 10, 11 and 12. Clause 10(1) and Clause 11(7) provide that there may be different arrangements for different types of broker in respect of the Code of Conduct and the rules to be drawn up under Clause 11, including exemption from those rules. Clause 12(4)(h) provides only that the Council may specify circumstances in which insurance brokers may be exempted from the professional indemnity rules.

There may, however, be need for the Council to lay down different rules in respect of different circumstances under each of these three clauses. The Council might, for example, want in practice to make different rules under Clause 11 in respect of life business and general business, or it might want to lay down different requirements for professional indemnity insurance in respect of different classes of insurance business. Certainly it should have the flexibility to make such arrangements if it is decided that they are appropriate, and the Amendments would achieve that.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 11 [Requirements for carrying on business]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 11: Page 9, line 18, leave out from ("different") to ("from") in line 19 and insert ("circumstances, and may specify circumstances in which persons are exempt").

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 12 [Compensation fund and professional indemnity]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 12: Page 11, line 1, after ("may") insert ("make different provision for different circumstances, and may").

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 12, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill.

The Earl of SELKIRK

The Amendment which the noble Lord has tabled to this provision states that certain bodies are exempt from any of the rules. Frankly, I read that as meaning they are not subject to any of the rules at all. Would the noble Lord care to change that to "certain of the rules" in view of the fact that, as at present drafted, certain companies could say that they were exempted from observing any of the rules? I think a qualifying word is needed in respect of the word "any" because, as I say, it might give a firm or organisation which is an insurance broker the opportunity to say that it need not be subject to any rules whatever.


I will certainly give consideration to that point and I am grateful to the noble Earl for raising it.

Clause 12, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 13 to 18 agreed to.

Clause 19 [Procedure of Disciplinary Committee]:

5.28 p.m.

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 13: Page 14, line 37, leave out ("such").

The noble Lord said: This is a drafting correction. The word "such" is redundant; it adds nothing to the sense of the subsection because the proceedings in question are evidently "any proceedings" before the Disciplinary Committee.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Lord ORAM moved Amendments Nos. 14 and 15:

Page 15, line 31, after ("broker") insert ("or enrolled body corporate").

Page 15, line 34, after ("broker") insert ("or body corporate").

The noble Lord said: Under Clause 19(4)(e) the Council are to make rules requiring the Disciplinary Committee to record a finding of not guilty in the case of a registered insurance broker when the Committee judge an allegation of unprofessional conduct unproven. Since enrolled bodies corporate as well as individual registered brokers are liable to erasure under Clause 15(1)(b) on grounds of unprofessional conduct, Clause 19(4)(e) should also clearly apply to enrolled bodies corporate as well as to individual registered brokers, and these two drafting Amendments achieve this result.


I should like to ask a question arising out of this matter, and which is also related to Clause 15, which provides that, where one of the directors of a body corporate is in default under the Bill, the body corporate as a whole may have its name erased. I wonder whether sufficient provision is made here, and clearly made, for enabling the disciplinary body to order that only the name of the director himself who is concerned should be erased. I quite understand that the Bill says that: …the Disciplinary Committee may, if they think fit…", but what I am not quite clear about is whether this will be sufficiently clear to the court should the body corporate as a whole be ordered to be erased from the Bill and it seems to the court that only the individual director who was guilty should have his name erased. I wonder whether this is a point worth looking at, as it does not seem to be sufficiently explicit in Clauses 15, 18 and 19.


That, too, is a point which I should be very happy to consider further. Originally I had thought that the position was quite satisfactory, but now that the noble Lord has put a doubt in my mind I should like to have the opportunity to think about it further.

On Question, Amendments agree to.

Clause 19, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 20 to 26 agreed to

Clause 27 [Rules etc. made by Council]:

5.33 p.m.

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 16: Page 19, line 17, leave out ("and").

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 17: Page 19, line 18, after ("Act") insert ("or any revision of that statement made by the Council under that section").

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 18: Page 19, line 27, leave out ("amend") and insert ("vary or revoke").

The noble Lord said: This Amendment gives the Secretary of State power to "vary or revoke" rather than "amend" rules made under specified sections of the Bill. This, we suggest, is a clearer expression, and will chime in with the wording of Clause 28(1), which also refers to "varying or revoking" orders. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 19: Page 19, line 28, leave out ("the statement drawn up") and insert ("revise the statement").

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 27, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 28 [Orders]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendments Nos. 20 to 22:

Page 19, line 30, leave out ("Any") and insert ("The")

Page 19, line 33, at end insert— ("(1A) Any statutory instrument by which that power is exercised, except one containing an order under section 30(3) of this Act or any such order as is mentioned in subsection (2) below, shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.")

Page 19, leave out lines 40 to 43.

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendments Nos. 20, 21 and 22. Amendment No. 20 is a paving Amendment for Amendments No. 21 and 22. The latter two Amendments change the order of subsections (2) and (3) of Clause 28, and amend the old subsection (3) to the effect that a commencement order made under Clause 30(3) should not be subject to any Parliamentary procedure. Such a procedure for a commencement order would be most unusual and unnecessary.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 28, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 29 [Interpretation]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendment No. 23: Page 21, line 15, after ("an") insert ("enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland and an").

The noble Lord said: This is a drafting Amendment to ensure that subsection (2) of Clause 29 covers enactments of the Northern Ireland Parliament, as well as other kinds of enactments. There are references to the Companies Act (Northern Ireland) 1960 in Clause 11(4), and to the Loans Guarantee and Borrowing Regulation Act (Northern Ireland) 1946 in paragraph 8 of the Schedule. Therefore this Amendment is necessary, and I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 29, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.

Schedule [Constitution, etc. of Insurance Brokers Registration Council]:

Lord ORAM moved Amendments Nos. 24 and 25:

Page 22, line 8, leave out ("and")

Page 22, line 9, at end insert ("and a third shall be a person appearing to the Secretary of State to represent the interests of persons who are or may become policyholders of insurance companies.")

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendments Nos. 24 and 25 en bloc. These Amendments provide for one of the Secretary of State's nominees to the proposed Insurance Brokers' Registration Council to represent the interests of insurance consumers. Amendment No. 25 is the substantive Amendment, and the other Amendment paves the way for it. The Government have for some time been sympathetic to the idea that the interests of insurance consumers should be represented on the Council. One of the main purposes of this Bill is, after all, to protect the interests of these consumers. We have now been able to consider carefully the points made in support of this proposition in another place. We have concluded that the Bill should specify that one of the Secretary of State's nominations should be from among those who seem to him to represent the interests of both existing and potential insurance policyholders. Hence this pair of Amendments. It is important to include the interests of potential policyholders, since it is frequently these, even more than actual policyholders, that call upon the services of insurance brokers. This is in response to a debate in another place. We have given careful consideration to it, and I am pleased to bring forward this proposition.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

On Question, Whether the Schedule, as amended, shall be the Schedule to the Bill.


I should like to ask a question on this matter. The Council is to consist of 12 persons chosen to represent registered insurance brokers, and five persons nominated by the Secretary of State. Is there, or should there not be, sonic provision for consultation with the British Insurance Brokers' Association as to those people who are to be nominated by the Secretary of State? The same would also apply to the person who is or may become a policy-holder of insurance companies. I do not know what the precedents are in other cases and I have no doubt that in all probability the Secretary of State would consult the Council or the British Insurance Brokers' Association. It seems to be desirable that there should be consultation in a case like this.


As the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, said, there would inevitably be consultation. I am not convinced that it is necessary lo write it into the Bill, but perhaps I could think further about that and consider whether the argument put forward by the noble Lord is strong enough to persuade me that it should be put in. In view of the fact that either the British Insurance Brokers' Association, initially, or later the registered insurance brokers, would be nominating or electing the majority of the persons on the Council, it is not so necessary to tie down the Secretary of State to consultation. One would expect that, in the normal course of events, consultation would take place, and I should like to consider the matter further.

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with the Amendments.