HL Deb 28 January 1986 vol 470 cc614-26

7.39 p.m.

Lord Wilson of Langside

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 Wilson of Langside.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD HAYTER in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [Incest and related offences]:

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 2, line 25, at end insert—

("3. Relationships by affinity. Stepdaughter or former stepdaughter Stepmother or former stepmother Stepson or former stepson Stepfather or former stepfather.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment is intended to retain within the category of relationship where sexual intercourse would be incest, the relationship between step-parent and stepchild. The Bill as proposed removes from the category of incest all relationships by affinity. Affinity of course covers both the relationship of an in-law, such as the mother-in-law and the son-in-law, or the father-in-law and the daughter-in-law, and the relationship of the stepchild/step-parent. I should make it clear that my amendment relates only to step-parents and stepchildren and has nothing to do with in-laws, and thus would be so restricted.

The relationship between a parent-in-law and a child-in-law is of course created only when the child marries and therefore must be of full age to consent to marriage and in many, if not in most, cases will go to live in a different household. The relationship of a stepchild to the step-parent is wholly different. The child may be of any age from a few months upwards and is most likely to live in the same household and to be treated as a child of the family, of the parent and the step-parent.

The Law Commission, in recommending that incest should apply to the relations between the adopted child and the adopting parents, argue that the bond may be indistinguishable from that of the natural child and its parents. I find it very difficult to see that this argument does not apply with even more force when one of the two parents, the step-parent and the parent, is in fact the natural parent. Therefore, I cannot see why this Bill makes incest apply to the adopted child and removes incest from applying to the step-child.

The family has been defined by Lord President Normand as a relationship in which the members associate together on a footing of mutual trust and may often share a common family life and home. He added that it was important for the moral welfare of the family that it should be regarded as excluding the possibility of marriage between the members of the family having the relationship. I would agree with that statement and would suggest that it is equally important that it should be regarded as excluding the possibility of intercourse other than between the parties who are married to each other.

When a marriage takes place which results in the step child relationship being created, it means that at the time of the marriage one or both of the parties have children. The effect of voluntarily entering into the relationship of marriage should, I would argue, involve excluding the possibility of a sexual relationship with one's partner's child. Otherwise there is always going to be a potential of temptation and of danger to the stability of the marriage relationship.

In an age when divorce is becoming more and more frequent, the state should do what it can to encourage marriage being a permanent relationship. It is part of the function of the criminal law to promote and maintain generally accepted standards of behaviour reflecting the public interest in preserving an ordered and stable society. In my view, to suggest that this Bill does so; that if a man married a woman with a teenage daughter no offence will be created at all if he has intercourse with the daughter, as long as she is over 16, would be to offend against generally accepted standards of behaviour. I hope that this amendment will be acceptable to noble Lords. I beg to move.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I must ask your Lordships to reject this amendment. Certainly, so far as the approach of the Scottish Law Commission is concerned, their experience is not in accord with the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Morton, that this is offensive to generally accepted standards of behaviour; because the commission in their report came firmly to the conclusion that the retention of relationships by affinity within the scope of incest could no longer be justified and, in particular, that the scope of incest was not the appropriate remedy to protect stepchildren whether under or over 16. Their memorandum, which was widely circulated among various interested bodies and parties, produced the finding that a considerable majority of those who responded agreed with this view, contrary to the view which the noble Lord, Lord Morton, has expressed. Some of those who did not agree with that view were concerned essentially to protect the younger children who were stepchildren, which, of course, is understandable.

I do not find any of these issues, the moral issues and the other issues which arise, altogether simple. But I think the Committee has to make up its mind whether or not relationship by affinity should still fall within the scope of the criminal law of incest. I suggest to your Lordships that it should not and I would accordingly ask your Lordships to reject this amendment.

7.45 p.m.

Baroness Seear

I should very much like to support the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, in opposing this amendment and I very much hope that the noble Lord, Lord Morton, will withdraw it. I have no doubt that the noble Lord, Lord Morton, is aware that Lord Meston has a Bill going through the House at the present time. It is affecting the law of affinity in England and Wales. If this law goes through, the Scottish law—and it is not for me as an English person to interfere with Scottish law—will be strangely at variance with the position in England.

It will be such that a man can be legally married to a woman in England who, if she goes to Scotland, will be committing the offence of incest; and that seems to me to be an extremely awkward position that would arise in that case. The noble Lord shakes his head: but, if Lord Meston's Bill goes through, it will in fact legalise the marriage of step-parent and stepchild, with one exception which is very important and which might make the noble Lord, Lord Meston, feel that he could think again about this amendment.

The exception is—I, personally, do not agree with this exception, but this is the exception in Lord Meston's Bill—is that if a stepchild has been a child of the family at any time, then the marriage is not to be permitted. That would mean that the situation which the noble Lord, Lord Morton, is envisaging would be accepted; because anybody who had been a child of the family would not be permitted to marry under the proposed Bill. But if there had never been a child of the family then that marriage would be permitted. We have already in your Lordships' House on several occasions—and there are other personal and Private Bills pending—permitted the marriage of persons who have not in fact been a child of the family, stepchild and step-parent. This can happen perfectly easily where someone has been married to a woman who has a child but that child has never lived in the house with the newly-wedded couple, the parent and the man to whom she is now married: they have never lived in the same house and have only known each other as adults.

If the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Morton, persists, the position will be very anomalous if the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Meston, goes through. That Bill as it stands now has the approval of the Bishops. I can well understand that that does not recommend itself to the Scots, but it does perhaps make it easier to get it through your Lordships' house.

I would also like to make another point which I think is quite important which refers to something the noble Lord, Lord Morton, said. He said that because it was not permitted to marry an adopted child, he saw no difference between that and the position of the stepchild. But there is a very important difference indeed. The whole point about adoption is that a child, once adopted, is expected and encouraged in every way to be part of the family in every conceivable sense—although perhaps "conceivable" is not the right word; but in every imaginable sense—in which it has been adopted. This would rule out any kind of subsequent sexual relationship because that child is precisely as a child that has been born in the family.

I think that I am right in saying that modern thinking about the position of stepchildren is that it is highly desirable that a stepchild should maintain contact and relationships with its own natural parents. To the extent that it maintains a relationship with its own natural parents, it is not, and never can be in the full sense, a child in the family in which it is a stepchild. It cannot have the same relationships with its own natural parents as it has with the step-father (assuming it to be a daughter) in the family into which the mother of this child has married. The position of the adopted child and the position of the stepchild are in most important particulars quite different. I very much hope that, for these reasons, the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

The Lord Advocate (Lord Cameron of Lochbroom)

As I explained on Second Reading, this (among other matters) is not one on which the Government would wish to express a view. As I stated then, the Government's position is one of neutrality, but there are perhaps one or two matters that have already been mentioned in the speeches of noble Lords and of the noble Baroness that I should like to emphasise and draw to your Lordship's attention.

First, the purpose of this amendment is very much at variance with the recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission. They of course considered the matter at length and, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, indicated, consulted widely. He has pointed out the results of that consultation. It would be fair to emphasise that their proposals were to take away from the crime of incest all the relationships by affinity.

It is worth bearing in mind that the relationships covered by affinity under the existing law are those not merely of parent and child but also of grandparent and grandchild. Therefore even with the step-relationship, as the law stands at present it is incest for a step-grandparent or a step-grandchild to have a sexual relationship. That seems to me to have been based on a different principle from that which the noble Lord opposite seeks to invoke to contain within the existing crime of incest the parent-child step-relationship. I simply make that point at this juncture.

I also agree that the analogy with adoption is one which perhaps noble Lords would wish to look at carefully. It has to be borne in mind that adoption is a choice made by those who adopt—the parents—whereas the step-relationship comes into being by virtue of marriage between the natural parent and another. There again it may be that that is a point which your Lordships should bear in mind.

There is also the problem which the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, has pointed out—that if the marriage Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Meston, should become law in its present form, whether or not it extends to Scotland, there will continue to be a problem under the existing law and indeed under the present Bill, if it is amended in the sense that is proposed: that persons who will be free to marry—and I underline "free to marry"—under the law of England and Wales would, if they had intercourse in Scotland, be committing incest—not of course married persons because provision is made for that; but if they were free to marry they would be committing incest.

We are of course still considering the possible application to Scotland of the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Meston. Consultations are not yet complete, but under that Bill persons over the age of 18 who stood in a step-relationship would nevertheless be tree to marry, subject only to the constraint mentioned by the noble Baroness. But such persons would, in Scotland, be within the forbidden degrees for incest in terms of this amendment, and of course the problem would be compounded should Lord Meston's Bill be extended to Scotland. While, as I say, the Government remain neutral in relation to the principle of the Bill it is only right that I should indicate to your Lordships that we foresee serious problems of a practical nature arising if this amendment is pressed.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I am very grateful for the interest that has been taken in this amendment. "Those English step-parents and stepchildren who, if the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Meston, is passed marry in England, are protected by whatever it becomes—2A(1)(c) of this Bill if it were to be passed. I realise that if they do not bother to get married and they come to Scotland, my amendment would catch them if they committed intercourse. They might find, of course, that a reasonable Lord Advocate would not consider it appropriate to take proceedings.

The noble Baroness, Lady Seear, dealing with the stepchild step-parent relationship, referred to the divorced and re-married situation where there is the natural parent who is the other spouse or the previous spouse of the parent of the child whom the step-parent marries. However, there are many step-relationships which appear after the first marriage is dissolved by death. In that situation, especially with young children, I find it very difficult to see that an adopted child is in a different situation from that of the stepchild in relation to the step-parent. I think it would perhaps be inappropriate for your Lordships' Committee to express a view on the appropriateness of this when the other place might be more appropriate; and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 2: Page 2, line 31, leave out from ("person") to end of line 32 and insert ("whose parents are not or have not been married to one another.").

The noble and learned Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 2. The new Section 2A(2)(b) of the Bill will provide that for the purposes of the section a degree of relationship exists, even where traced through any person of illegitimate birth".

The simple point of this amendment is that of course there are many people whose parents have not been married who regard it as offensive that they should be labelled in this particular way—and very understandably, since the attachment of such a label is something for which they themselves can carry no conceivable responsibility. The Scottish Law Commission's Report on illegitimacy, published in 1984, recognises this and recommends that statutes should in future no longer use the word. The Law Reform (Parent and Child) (Scotland) Bill is presently before another place. This amendment simply anticipates some of the provisions of that Bill. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 3: Page 2, line 33, leave out from ("doubt") to end of line 34 and insert ("sexual intercourse between persons who are not related to each other in a degree referred to in subsection (1) above is not incest.").

The noble and learned Lord said: This is purely a drafting amendment. It was thought—I am not sure that I share the thought entirely—that the present wording might leave some question about the continued application of the common law. This particular formulation of the provision, it is thought, will remove any ambiguity. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Hayter)

Before calling Amendment No. 4, I have to point out that if this amendment is agreed to I cannot call Amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 7.

[Amendment No. 4 not moved.]

8 p.m.

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 5: Page 2, line 37, leave out ("16") and insert ("21").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 4 was a consequential amendment if the Committee had accepted my previous amendment. Amendments Nos. 5 and 7 are intended to change the age limit in Section 2B from 16 to 21, and Amendment No. 6 inserts as one of the conditions that the person has to prove that he or she has never lived in the same household as the stepchild or former stepchild or treated the stepchild or former stepchild as a child of his or her family. Amendment No. 6: Page 2, line 38, at end insert ("had never lived in the same household as the step-child or former step-child and treated the step-child or former step-child as a child of his or her family and also proves that he or she—"). Amendment No. 7: Page 3, line 2, leave out ("16") and insert ("21"). It also proves I am going on to paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) as they are in the section. This amendment is to add to the protection which the young person, the step-child, would have in the family. Amendment No. 6 is adapted from the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Meston. I understand that some of Members of the Committee may criticise the wording of it, but I hope the intention is clear. I hope the wording can be improved and I am open to any advice on that.

As regards the young person who even over 16 has a completely different relationship with the spouse of a parent than a young person would have with a stranger, as the section stands, the only protection open to the step-child over 16 in the household is the absence of consent. The Law Commission in their report dealt with this in paragraph 3.12 and pointed out the difficulties in words much clearer than I could achieve. In such circumstances if incest ceased to be a crime, the question of consent would become crucial in deciding whether or not an offence such as rape or indecent assault had been committed This would pose difficulties for, as stated in our memorandum, it is an open question whether in a family one can usefully talk in terms of a daughter's or son's consent, particularly if one takes into account the fact that the young girl in an incest situation is subject to a completely different set of conditions regarding defence, tolerance and participation from the child or maturing girl who meets a completely unrelated adult aggressor or a transient, perhaps even a known sexual partner. The memorandum refers to the fact that a girl in an incest situation may become more and more acquiescent". It also discusses how consent to intercourse can be obtained by various methods and devices.

I would urge that it is unreal in this situation to suggest that a girl or a boy of 16 who has been brought up in this situation should suddenly have a completely free and totally adult approach to somebody whom she has probably regarded, or may have regarded, as her father all the way through. In my submission, this amendment would meet the situation perhaps more happily than my previous amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I would also ask the Committee to reject Amendment No. 5. I have a little difficulty—I am sure it is my own obtuseness—in understanding why the noble Lord has presented this amendment to the Committee along with Amendment No. 6. Amendment No. 5 raises different and somewhat disconnected questions. Amendment No. 5, as I understand it, seeks to raise the age at which an offence will be committed, where sexual intercourse takes place with a step-child, from 16 to 21.

When I first considered this matter I had a great deal of sympathy with that. Indeed, I drafted a number of amendments myself to that very end. Then I found that the more I thought of the situation and the more I explored it, it did not seem to me to be quite as simple as I had first regarded it as being. I consulted with the members of the Scottish Law Commission and discussed the whole issue with them in considerable depth. The considered judgment I came to was that they had examined the whole matter with the utmost care. I was quite astonishingly impressed. I have often felt critical of the Scottish Law Commission. I was immensely impressed with the careful thought that they had given to this particular matter, and I am sure to other matters. It was in consequence of my discussions with them that I reached the conclusion that they were right and that 16 was the right age to fix in this matter.

I am sorry but I shall have to go into this matter at a little length, which is a pity at this time. We are dealing with consential intercourse with people who are both, in the eyes of the law, old enough to consent or to withhold consent and, indeed, old enough to marry in Scotland without anyone's consent. We should be very careful. I am often suspicious of some of these liberal approaches to these matters. This is an important point.

We should be very careful about making this conduct between two adult citizens, who are free to marry, a serious criminal offence. I think that would be wrong. If the age were raised to, say, 18, there would be a danger of making conduct criminal in cases where this would seem quite inappropriate.

We should consider the kind of circumstances in which this situation could arise. It is easy to get excited about the need to protect innocent young girls, and so on, against the malpractices of the male of the species. But consider the other side of the coin. Consider a woman in her 'thirties who marries but soon separates from a man in his early 'twenties.

The man and the woman's 17 year-old daughter fall in love. They have sexual intercourse, not thinking there is anything wrong in it. There is no blood relationship at all. They are both of marriageable age. The young woman might actually be married according to the law of Scotland without anyone's consent. It is hard to see why the man in that circumstance should be guilty of a criminal offence. I am not saying there are not matters to be guarded against. The same situation could arise the other way around. A man in his thirties could marry a young woman, of say, 18. She and the man's 17 year-old son might become attracted to each other. Why should consential intercourse between them be a criminal offence?

The danger of catching inappropriate cases would of course be greatly increased if the age were raised to, say, 21. I thought at one stage of making it 18 and, for the reasons which I have tried to explain, I have reached the conclusion, contrary to my original view, that the Law Commission were quite right. This would also pose problems if the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Meston, went through.

There is a natural tendency to think of protecting young women of 17 or 18 from predatory older males in a position of some dominance. There are however many situations of this nature such as the ones I have described which I do not think we should make criminal. Because of the hour and the fact that the House wants to get back to the more important business of salmon, and not just the relationship between young men and older women, perhaps I may pass over some considerations that I should have touched upon. In the light of these considerations—and I have no doubt there are others—I would ask the Committee to reject this amendment.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I think it is only proper, since the Government have adopted a position of neutrality, to advise the Committee that the Government have no strong views on these amendments. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, has made clear what is the Scottish Law Commission's present view, in addition to that which was expressed at the time when the Law Commission's report was published. He has made clear that the Commission then adhered, and still adhere, to their view that 16 years is the proper age, related as it is to the permitted age for marriage in Scotland.

The only other point that I would make is that, if the Committee were minded to move away from that age and the argument which was put forward by the noble and learned Lord in support of it, there is the question of what other age would be appropriate. The consultees, as the Scottish Law Commission made clear, were divided on that matter and, for instance, we have to recognise that legislation in recent years has assumed that the age of 18 years is the point at which adult estate is achieved. I would simply say that this must be a matter for your Lordships to make up your minds upon, but no doubt you should bear in mind both the views expressed by the Scottish Law Commission in their report, and those which they have obviously expressed most recently, which we have heard from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside.

Lord Wilson of Langside

Perhaps for the sake of my noble friend Lord Morton of Shuna I should say, since he referred to Amendment No. 6, that, unless I misapprehend the situation, I should have been disposed to accept it. While it might be argued that Amendment No. 6 is unnecessary, I should have been disposed to accept it just to show that I did not oppose every one of his amendments.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I did not address myself to Amendment No. 6, but I had some discussion earlier with the noble Lord about it. It seems to me that, while there can be no objection in principle to what it seeks to do, it might be that he will wish to reconsider it because it seems to involve a slight difficulty. It suggests that you have to prove that the step-parent had never lived in the same household as the stepchild and treated the stepchild as a child of the family. If, on the other hand, he or she were to establish the first branch but not the second, then it would appear that the whole defence which is available in the section would not be open to him, and I do not think that that is what the noble Lord intended. He may wish to reconsider the form of the amendment, though not necessarily the substance.

Lord Morton of Shuna

With that invitation, as I do not think it would be appropriate to divide the Committee as at present constituted and disturb various people's digestions, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. Perhaps I may come back with Amendment No. 6 after consultation with the noble and learned Lords the Lord Advocate and Lord Wilson of Langside, as to the wording that would be appropriate.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 6 and 7 not moved.]

8.15 p.m.

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 8: Page 3, line 10, leave out from beginning to end of line 28.

The noble and learned Lord said: I ask your Lordships to consider this amendment. It falls together with Amendments Nos. 11, 18 and 19: Amendment No. 11: Page 4, line 6, leave out (", 2B or 2C") and insert ("or 2B"). Amendment No. 18: Schedule 1, page 5, line 23, leave out ("to") and insert ("and").

Amendment No. 19: Page 5, line 23, at end insert— (".In section 4(1) after the word "exceeding" where it first occurs there shall be inserted ", where the conviction occurs in the High Court of Justiciary seven years, where the conviction occurs in the Sheriff Court" ").

I find the question which it raises not without some difficulty and, again, this is a matter which I discussed in some detail with the Scottish Law Commission. We all reached the conclusion provisionally that this was a proper answer to the problem which the new Section 2C presents as it is at present drafted in the Bill. In effect, what these amendments do is to take the new Section 2C out of the Bill. The reason for doing that is that, apparently, the Scottish Law Commission have always had some difficulty with this provision and the present commission and the present chairman—who was not, of course, the chairman when this report was prepared—were very unhappy with the drafting of Section 2C(c), the provision that any person of or over the age of 16 years who, is in a position of trust or authority in relation to that child", shall be guilty of an offence unless various things are proved.

Having discussed it, we were all agreed that this drafting was not perhaps the happiest solution. Everyone seemed to think it might raise questions of uncertainty if and when cases were brought before the court. After full discussion, we thought the best solution to a quite difficult problem—and it is for your Lordships to consider whether it was a sensible conclusion—was that Section 2C might be scrapped.

If an offence against a girl under 16 is committed and aggravated by the circumstance that the offender is in a position of trust—a foster parent or someone of that kind—then that situation should be dealt with by providing that an offence under Section 4 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976 in such an aggravated case should be liable to be charged in the High Court of Justiciary, and to a more severe penalty than the two years' imprisonment to which a non-aggravated offence of sexual intercourse with a girl of under 16 is at present liable, and that, where there was an aggravation because the person was in some position of trust, he should be liable.

It would then be in the hands of the Lord Advocate and his deputes to decide whether, if there was a case of that kind, it should be dealt with more seriously and be taken to the High Court, and Amendment No. 19 provides for an increase in the sentence to which an offender would become liable under the Sexual Offences Act.

I am not particularly proud of the drafting, but it was the best that I could do. In any event, that was the conclusion that we reached. I could readily understand if there was some hesitation about accepting this amendment. I can think of many arguments that I could present against it. But I have tried to explain to the Committee the unease which the Law Commission at present have about the provision as presently drafted. This new provision would cover only the case of the offence against a girl. The conclusion that we reached was that an offence against a male child could be dealt with as one of our quaint old Scottish offences which we call lewd, libidinous and indecent offences. So far as I recall—the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate will correct me if I am wrong—one is liable if convicted in the High Court to a sentence of life imprisonment. I beg to move.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I consider that Section 2C has some value and I do not see all the difficulties that appear to be in the mind of the present chairman of the Law Commission. I should have thought that it would be fairly easy either to define what is meant by "a position of trust or authority" in the Bill or to leave it as a matter for a jury to work out whether a certain person was in a position of trust or authority.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I do not want to misrepresent the position of the chairman of the Law Commission. That is the last thing I would want to do. He did not like it as it stood. He recognised that we could have a stab at redrafting it to get rid of the uncertainties. He saw that was one option. It was really my responsibility to adopt this option. If the Committee does not like it, I shall certainly take it away and look at it again.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I had virtually finished. All I was going to suggest was that I personally—and all I can do is to speak for myself—prefer Section 2C as it exists to the rather convoluted way of dealing with the problem that is otherwise suggested as the alternative.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

The Government must have a responsibility to ensure so far as possible that legislation which is enacted is effective, workable and consistent. I appreciate the fact that the noble and learned Lord has obviously discussed this with the Scottish Law Commission. I can only say that in the report they made clear the fact that the consultation memorandum in which they put forward this proposal was one which provoked considerable comment, all—I underline the word "all"—of which favoured making special provision to protect children in these categories. I refer to paragraph 4.30.

I would be concerned that with the removal of Section 2C the amendments would leave a substantial gap in the Bill's provisions. It would reduce the protection available to young girls since the Bill as presently drafted provides a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for relevant offences. It would remove the protection of young males altogether, leaving this to be dealt with via the general charge of lewd and libidinous practices which I suggest the Committee may think was scarcely adequate. It is only right that I should point out that in regard to the amendment of the penalty provision, we would not normally contemplate a change in the general penalty provision of any statute simply to accommodate a particular type of offence as is really sought here without very careful consideration and wide consultation.

Perhaps I may suggest this to the noble and learned Lord. I appreciate the point he makes about trust or authority, although I have in mind what the Law Commission said in paragraph 4.34 of the report that they thought the court could decide as a matter of fact whether the relationship between the accused and the child could properly be described as being one of authority or trust. It may be proper not to proceed with this at present and see whether some drafting might bring about a better result.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate and to the noble Lord, Lord Morton of Shuna. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 9 to 12 not moved.]

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 13:

Page 4, line 24, leave out ("condition."") and insert—("condition. ( ) In subsection (6) above, "local authority" has the meaning assigned to it by section 1(2) of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968."".)

The noble and learned Lord said: This amendment is simply designed to bring in the definition of "local authority" which was not there before. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 [Short title, commencement and extent]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

If Amendment No. 14 is carried, I cannot call Amendment No. 15.

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 14:

Page 4, line 33, leave out from ("operation") to end of line 34 and insert ("on such day as the Secretary of State may appoint by order made by statutory instrument. ( ) An order made under subsection (2) above may contain such transitional provisions and savings as appear to the Secretary of State necessary or expedient in connection with the coming into operation of this Act.")

The noble and learned Lord said: The purpose of this amendment is simply to substitute an appointed day provision for the present provision bringing the Bill into force one month after the Royal Assent to make provision for transitional arrangements. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 15 not moved.]

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Consequential amendments]:

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 16: Page 5, leave out lines 3 to 7.

The noble and learned Lord said: This is a drafting amendment to delete provisions which are no longer necessary by reason of amendments and repeal: to recent legislation. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 17: Page 5, leave out lines 17 to 19.

The noble and learned Lord said: This amendment is in the same position. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

Amendment No. 18, Lord Wilson of Langside.

Lord Wilson of Langside

Not moved—I am sorry. I dealt with Amendments Nos. 18 and 19 when dealing with Amendments Nos. 8 and 9. Since I withdrew them, I do not move these, so they are not moved.

[Amendments Nos. 18 and 19 not moved.]

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Enactments repealed]:

Lord Wilson of Langside moved Amendment No. 20: Page 6, line 4, column 3, leave out ("Section 13.") and insert ("The whole Act.").

The noble and learned Lord said: This is a drafting amendment also. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with the amendments.