§ 3.8 p.m.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.
The Bill consolidates the Charitable Trustees Incorporation Act 1872, the Charities Act 1960 and Part I of the Charities Act 1992. The need for this consolidating measure arises from the substantial amendments made to the earlier legislation by Part I of the Charities Act 1992. Indeed, it was during the passage through your Lordships' House of that Act that the desirability of an early consolidation was identified.
This Bill, which has been drafted by parliamentary counsel at the Law Commission, is pure consolidation and if your Lordships are content to give it a Second Reading it will be referred in the usual way to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills. I believe that I would be right in expressing the thanks of the House 817 to the Law Commission and the draftsmen for the detailed work required in preparing this consolidation. I commend the Bill to your Lordships.
Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time. —(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ Lord Richard
My Lords, may I from these Benches say how much we welcome the introduction of this Bill. It is a measure that most people who were concerned with the passage of the Charities Act last year agreed was long overdue. We are delighted that it now makes its appearance and are grateful to the Law Commission for having helped this.
§ Lord Harris of Greenwich
My Lords, I should like to join with the noble Lord, Lord Richard, in what he has said. All of us who were involved in consideration of the Charities Bill in the last Session felt that an early consolidation measure was highly desirable. We should like the noble and learned Lord to pass on our thanks to the Law Commission for having done this so expeditiously.
§ Lord Renton
My Lords, I hope I may add my modest congratulations on this Bill. It is necessary, timely and has been extremely well drafted. One welcomes the getting rid of spent provisions. If more of that were done on consolidation, a greater public service would be performed. This is a very good Bill.
§ Lord Allen of Abbeydale
My Lords, I have been involved with charity law over the years and I hope it is not presumptuous of me to add my word of welcome to this Bill and my appreciation of the work which has been put into its preparation. When we were discussing what is now the Charities Act 1992 in what I think was a rather successful Public Bill Committee we expressed the hope that charity law might be consolidated. However, I for one had no idea that it was going to be done so promptly.
I experienced a slight tinge of disappointment when I looked at the Bill and saw that a few islands were still left, as it were, in Part I of the 1992 Act and in the 1960 Act. But on looking at them in some detail I believe I can see why they have not been included in the consolidating Bill. No doubt that is something the Joint Committee will be looking at in due course.
The 1992 Act, for which this House was fully responsible, was a useful measure. It will be of enormous help to all those practising in this field to have the impact of that Act on the existing law set out in this clear and comprehensive measure. It is indeed greatly to be welcomed.
§ The Lord Chancellor
My Lords, I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome that this Bill has received. Perhaps it is a mark of the success that the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, claims for the Public Bill Committee that its desire for consolidation has been acted upon so quickly. I shall be happy to pass on to the Law Commission the views that have been expressed by your Lordships this afternoon.
On Question, Bill read a second time, and referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.