HL Deb 07 November 1988 vol 501 cc480-1

3.2 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 6 (Proceedings.)

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sanderson of Bowden) moved Amendment No. 1.: Page 5, line 19, at end insert ("and any legal proceedings or other document to be served on a Board shall be deemed to have been duly served if served at the school on the Clerk or, if no Clerk has been appointed, on the chairman or vice-chairman.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, during debate in Committee and at Report I listened attentively to the arguments put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove, on the need for a clearly established route for the service of legal notices and other documents on boards. My reply to his arguments was that there is a recognised legal principle: it is that the service of a document on- an officer or an office-holder of a statutory body counts as satisfactory service of that document on the body concerned.

It has been my intention to assuage the concerns of the noble Lord wherever possible. Accordingly I have tabled this amendment which in effect restates that recognised legal principle within the provisions of the Bill. If I may say so, the amendment is more satisfactory than that proposed at Committee and Report by the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael. It covers the possibility that a board might, for whatever reason, be without a clerk at some time. In such circumstances service should be made on the chairman or vice-chairman.

The amendment also provides for service to be made at the school for which the board is established. The school therefore becomes a proxy for the board's place of business. Anyone wishing to serve a document will not need to find out the clerk's or the chairman's home address. I beg to move.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Sanderson, for accepting the suggestion that I made. We on this side of the House do not have the facilities that the noble Lord has; therefore we are only too pleased to have the words that we put down tightened up and made easier to understand. It is now much more likely that notices of legal proceedings from outside bodies will be served on boards and not addressed to the headmaster which may have been the case otherwise. We are very pleased.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sanderson of Bowden moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 5, line 26, leave out subsection (7) and insert— ("(7) Minutes of the proceedings of a meeting of a School Board, or of any committee of a Board. shall be drawn up and shall be signed at the same or next following meeting by the person presiding thereat, and any minute purporting to be so signed shall be received in evidence without further proof. (7A) Where their education authority so require, a School Board shall send to the authority a copy of the minutes signed under subsection (7) above in relation to any meeting.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I undertook at Report stage to find a form of words which would give effect to the principle of the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael. The noble Lord's concern was that without authentication, board minutes might be open to challenge. He also wished to secure a clearly stated right for authorities to require delivery of copies of board minutes should they so desire. I have redeemed my pledge. I beg to move.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

My Lords, again I am grateful to the noble Lord for looking at this point and bringing it back in a form of words that leaves little doubt as to its meaning. This means that the minutes of the board will be authenticated and totally accepted. I am very pleased that we have reached this agreement.

On Question. amendment agreed to.

Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.