§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)
My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. The purpose of this amendment to judicial Standing Orders is to enable the House, upon report from the Appeal Committee, to modify in certain circumstances the obligation that appellants should lodge security for costs. At present, the sum required is £18,000, which is intended to represent two-thirds of the average cost of an appeal to your Lordships' House. It thus provides a guarantee that the respondents, if successful, will be reimbursed at least to that extent.
The Standing Order does not at present give the House any discretion to waive or even to modify this requirement, so that an appellant who is unable to find the money cannot proceed with his appeal. My noble and learned friends the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary have unanimously decided that the Standing Order ought to be amended so as to give them such a discretion. It is their belief that circumstances that would warrant the exercise of this discretion will only rarely arise, but it is right for them to have the discretion. I agree that it is a sensible amendment and I commend it to the House.
§ Moved, That the following amendment be made to the Standing Orders regulating judicial business:
§ Standing Order V
§ Line 1, after ("that") insert ("unless otherwise ordered by the House").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.