§ 19 Schedule 3, page 37, line 31, at end insert—
.—(1) In section 31(1) of the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972 for the words from "secretary" where it first occurs to "taking" there shall be substituted the words:—
Secretary of the Law Society of Scotland who shall send the application and any accompanying documents to a solicitor practising in the sheriff court within the jurisdiction of which that other person resides or to such other solicitor practising in Scotland as appears to the Secretary to be appropriate, for the purposes of enabling the solicitor to take".
§ (2) In section 32 of that Act—
(a) after subsection (7) there shall be inserted the following subsections—
(7A) The Secretary of State on receiving notice under subsection (6) above shall send a copy of the registered order and of the related documents to the Secretary of the Law Society of Scotland who shall send the copy of the order and of the related documents to a solicitor practising in the registering court or to such other solicitor practising in Scotland as appears to the Secretary to be appropriate for the purpose of enabling the solicitor to take, on behalf of the person entitled to the payments for which the order provides, such steps as appear to the solicitor appropriate to enforce the order.
(7B) Where an order is registered in the sheriff court by virtue of subsection (3) above, any provision of the order by virtue of which the payments for which the order provides are required to be made through or to any officer or person on behalf of the person entitled thereto shall be of no effect so long as the order is so registered.";
§ (b) subsection (9)(e) of that section shall be omitted.
§ (3) In section 34(5) of that Act, for paragraph (b) there shall be substituted the following paragraph—
"(b) for subsection (3) there shall be substituted the following subsection—
'(3) Where the Secretary of State receives from the appropriate authority in a convention country an application by a person in that country for the variation of a registered order, he shall, if the registering court is a sheriff court, send the applica-tion, together with any documents accompanying it, to the Secretary of the Law Society of Scotland who shall send the application and any accompanying documents to a solicitor, practising in the registering court or to such other solicitor practising in Scotland as appears to the Secretary to be appropriate for the purpose of enabling the solicitor to take on behalf of the applicant such steps as appear to the solicitor appropriate in respect of the application.'.".
§ A.—(1) Section 43A of that Act shall be amended as follows.
§ (2) In subsection (1) for the words "section 2(1) and (6Xc), 3 and 4 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1967" there shall be substituted the words "sections 15 and 17 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986".198
§ (3) In subsection (2) for the words "sections 2(1) and (6)(c), 3 and 4 of the said Act of 1967", there shall be substituted the words "sections 15 and 17 of the said Act of 1986".
§ (4) In subsection (3) for the words from "legal advice" to "said Act of 1972)", where they second occur, there shall be substituted the words "advice and assistance under the said Act of 1986, shall, notwithstanding any financial conditions or requirements to make contributions imposed by sections 8 and 11 of that Act,".'.
§ Lord Cameron of Lochbroom
My Lords, I beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 19. With leave and for the convenience of the House, I should also like to speak to Amendment No. 21. These amendments are to Schedule 3 of the Bill. Again, as regards Amendment No. 19, I have to point out that there appear to be errors in the Marshalled List on page 5. I am advised that halfway down the page at the start of subparagraph (3) the phrase should readin section 34(5) of that Actas opposed to "the Act". In the substituted subsection in the third last line noble Lords will see the phraseon behalf of the applicant such…and then the word "steps" should appear. Again that was in the amendment which was passed in another place.
While I am referring to the Marshalled List, in Amendment No. 21, to which I am also speaking, again owing to a printing error there is perhaps some difficulty in understanding the way in which the amendment should be set out. It is to appear in three columns, the first of which will contain the date, "1972 c.18"; the second column will read "The Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972"; and the third column will read "Section 32 (9)(e)".
I apologise for bringing these very technical matters to your Lordships' attention, but it is of some importance in endeavouring to understand these particular amendments which involve Section 31 of the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972. That act requires the Secretary of State for Scotland to send incoming maintenance applications from foreign countries to the Law Society's Legal Aid Central Committee, and that committee in turn to instruct the solicitors in the appropriate jurisdiction and to take steps to enforce the order.
Of course, the Legal Aid Central Committee will be replaced by the board once the Bill comes into operation. Therefore, it is necessary to devise some alternative mechanism for dealing with these applications. Since this task involves the choice of a solicitor and legal aid is not necessarily involved, it seems appropriate for this to be done in future by the Law Society rather than by the board. I place on record my grateful thanks to the Law Society for agreeing to take on this task. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—(Lord Cameron of Lochbroom.)
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, may I take it that the "O" appearing below the title is neither a cri de coeur from the exhausted draftsman nor a zero, but the letter in the alphabet?
§ Lord Cameron of Lochbroom
My Lords, I would be cautious, but I suspect it is the letter in the alphabet. If I am wrong about that, it is perhaps a matter which I ought to have brought to your Lordships' attention earlier. I am advised that it is because the effect of the amendment is to bring in a new section before subsection (1) of the Act and therefore it has to be called "O".
§ Lord Morton of Shuna
"Alpha" might be better, my Lords.
As the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate has made reference to the Law Society, I think it would be unfortunate to complete our consideration of this Bill without paying tribute to the considerable efforts and help they have provided I think to both the Government and those on this side of the House in giving us their comments on this rather technical Bill.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.