HL Deb 17 December 1975 vol 366 cc1559-61WA

asked Her Majesty's Government: What is their attitude to the following:

  1. 1. The Report of the Law Reform Committee on Conversion and Detinue;
  2. 2. The Report of the Law Reform Committee on Wills;
  3. 3. The Report of the Law Commission on Forgery and Counterfeit Currency;
  4. 4. The Report of the Law Commission on the assessment of damages in personal injury cases;
  5. 5. The Report of the Law Commission on Injuries to Unborn Children;
  6. 6. The Report of the Law Commission on the Solemnisation of Marriage;
  7. 7. The Report of the Law Commission on implied covenant in leases and tenancy agreements;
  8. 8. The Report of the Law Commission on Exemption Clauses;
  9. 9. The Report of the Law Commission on Rent Charges;
  10. 10. The Justice Report on a Suitors' Fund;
  11. 11. The Justice Report on Litigants in Person;
  12. 12. The Report of the Jellicoe Committee on Board of Prison Visitors;
  13. 13. The Report of the Renton Committee on the Preparation of Legislation;
  14. 14. The Report of the Committee on Death Certification and Coroners;
  15. 15. The Report of the Younger Committee on Privacy;
  16. 16. The Bell Report on Supplementary Benefit Appeal Tribunals;
  17. 17. The Report of the Faulks Committee on Defamation;
  18. 18. The Report of the Phillimore Committee on Contempt of Court;
  19. 19. Family Courts;
  20. 20. Company Law Reform;
  21. 21. The ratification of the two United Nations Covenants on Human Rights 1560 and legislation to make the European Convention on Human Rights part of our domestic law;
  22. 22. The Justice Report on the Prosecution Process.

The LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord Elwyn-Jones)

I have discussed with my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner the matters raised in his question. Briefly, the position is as follows:

1. Legislation on this difficult subject is still in course of preparation.

4. Action on this Report will be deferred until the Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury has reported.

5. The Government consider there may be a case for legislation ad interim on this topic, although it falls within the terms of reference of the Royal Commission. A Bill to implement the Law Commission's recommendations is being introduced by a Private Member in another place.

8. It is proposed to introduce legislation on this topic as soon as there is an opportunity.

10. No decision has been made on the issues of principle and priority raised by this report, which may be considered a suitable topic for debate.

11. Some of these proposals have been implemented and the Government are continuing with further measures to improve the position of the litigant in person.

13. The Government's attitude has been fully explained in the recent debate.

14. The views of the Government were expressed by the Secretary of State in his Written Answer of 6thAugust 1975.

15. A White Paper on Privacy and Computers was published yesterday; the Government's conclusions on other aspects of privacy will follow later.

18. This is under consideration, but account must also be taken of the Law Commission's work on Offences against the Administration of Justice, and no immediate proposals for legislation can be put forward.

19. As the Secretary of State said on 20th October 1975, the Government see no prospect of accepting the recommendation for family courts, but the magistrates' functions and the overlapping jurisdiction of the magistrates' and the divorce courts will be reviewed.

20. This topic is under review, but no conclusions can be reached until after completion of the inquiry under Sir Alan Bullock into Industrial Democracy.

22. There are no present plans for legislation.

Items 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17 and 21 are under consideration.