HL Deb 12 October 1993 vol 549 cc189-90

18 Schedule 2, page 15, line 29, column 3, at end add: ', except section 47'.

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 18. Your Lordships will recall that Part III of the Bill amends or repeals legislation which does not reflect the principle of English and Welsh being treated on the basis of equality. As your Lordships will remember, this included the repeal of the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542.

Lord Elis-Thomas

Hear, hear!

Earl Ferrers

The noble Lord must contain his enthusiasm for half a moment. I was going to say that this particular provision was welcomed then—and it is evidently welcomed by the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, and he is not alone, now.

The Government proposed that these laws should be repealed because their provisions are now redundant. But, when we came to consider the detailed provisions which they contain, it came to our attention that Section 47 of the Act of 1542 still operates. It operates in a way which I know will satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas. It deals with the sale of goods in markets in Wales and provides that the title to goods which are bought at certain types of markets but which had been stolen remains with the person from whom they had been stolen and does not vest in the purchaser, even though the purchase was made in good faith.

The Government take the view that the law in Wales relating to this matter should remain in the future as it is at present. The amendment would therefore ensure that this particular feature of the law in Wales remains unchanged. Even if all the other parts of the Act met with the disapproval of the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, and others, I hope that he will agree that this particular part of the Act should remain.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 18.—(Earl Ferrers.)

Lord Prys-Davies

My Lords, much has been made of the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542. Perhaps for the sake of clarity, it should be recorded somewhere in Hansard that modern Welsh historians of the past 10, 15 or 20 years identify those two important constitutional statutes by reference to the years 1536 and 1543 respectively and not 1535 and 1542. However, the Bill follows the precedent established in the second schedule of the Statute Law Revision Act 1948. I am sure the Minister is confident that after 450 years nothing turns on that distinction.

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, for his historical correction and anecdote. It was a correction more in the mind of the noble Lord, Lord Prys-Davies, because the dates which I gave were technically correct even though historically the particular figures may have great value in the mind of the noble Lord, Lord Prys-Davies. I am sure that our sympathies run along the same lines.

On Question, Motion agreed to.