HL Deb 26 February 1985 vol 460 cc840-1

3.12 p.m.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

My Lords, on behalf of my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill now be read a third time.—(Lord Cameron of Lochbroom.)

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, while the House will obviously welcome the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate in moving the Third Reading of this Bill, we also very much regret that the main pilot of it, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, is unwell, and we obviously wish him better. Is it a coincidence that the report of the Law Commission upon which this Bill is based is entitled The Incapacitated Principal? This is a welcome Bill upon which it will not be necessary to deliver a long speech at the Third Reading stage. I would merely say that the legal profession, and certainly the Law Society, campaigned for a long time about the unfair and indeed unreasonable situation which was created by the fact in law that upon a person who had granted a power of attorney becoming mentally incapacitated, that power of attorney immediately became an invalid and unenforceable document just at the time, your Lordships may feel, when it was most needed.

Therefore the recommendation was made, which was taken up by the Law Commission, that there should be a power, a capacity, for somebody who had entered into a power of attorney to have an enduring power registered with various safeguards which are incorporated in the Bill. This Bill therefore is to be welcomed. The fact that amendments were moved to it in order to deal with certain rather minor points does not make this Bill any less welcome. On behalf of my noble friends I should like to express the appreciation that we feel for the way in which our various amendments were courteously dealt with, even if all of them were not accepted.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

My Lords, I must thank the noble Lord opposite for the kind words that have fallen from him. As I think was previously said by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor in the course of the passage of this Bill through this House, this Bill will have important implications particularly for many elderly persons in the country. It will make a useful contribution to the way in which people arrange their affairs by enabling them, by a relatively simple and cheap means, to provide for the administration of their estates when they themselves are no longer able to do so.

On behalf of my noble and learned friend, I should like to thank your Lordships, and in particular the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, for the patience which has been shown during the passage of the Bill through this House and the diligence with which its provisions have been examined. I am well aware that although this is a short Bill it is a complex one and it has required careful attention. It is only appropriate that I should, on behalf of my noble and learned friend, tender thanks for the manner in which it has been looked at in its passage through the House.

On Question, Bill read a third time, and passed, and sent to the Commons.