HC Deb 09 July 1975 vol 895 cc174-7W
Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Attorney-General whether he will list the matters at present under consideration by the Law Commission and state in each case when such consideration began, the stage which such consideration has reached, and when he expects such consideration to be completed.

The Attorney-General

I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to the Ninth Annual Report of the Law Commission, which sets out the position as it stood at 29th October 1974, and to its previous annual reports. Since that date the Law Commision has had numerous matters under consideration. In addition to work on consolidation of enactments, and statute law revision, the principal subjects considered are those listed in the following table. The time when it is

Item Subject Progress since last Annual Report
I General Principles of Law of Contract. Three working papers have been published: No. 59 on Contribution; No. 60 on Firm Offers; and No. 61 on Penalty Clauses and Forfeiture of Moneys Paid. Other working papers are being prepared.
II Exemption Clauses in Contracts Submission of final report and draft legislation to Ministers by the Law Commissions is expected soon.
VIII Codification of the Law of Landlord and Tenant. A report on Obligations of Landlords and Tenants (Law Com. No. 67) was published on 11th June. A report on Termination of Tenancies is in preparation.
IX Transfer of Land:
(a) Land Registration A fourth working paper is in an advanced stage of preparation and it is hoped to publish it before the end of the year.
(b) Rentcharges Preparation of the final report and draft legislation is well advanced.
(c) Agreements for Purchase and Sale "Subject to Contract" ("Gazumping"). Final report was published 21st January.
(d) Charging Orders Final report and clauses are in preparation.
XVIII Codification of the Criminal Law:
(a) General Principles Preparation of a report on some aspects of the mental element in crime is proceeding. The series of working papers arising out of the general proposals on the crime of conspiracy contained in Working Paper No. 50 has been completed by the issue of Working Paper No. 62 "Offences relating to the Administration of Justice" and No. 63 "Conspiracies to effect a Public Mischief and to commit a Civil Wrong". A comprehensive report with draft legislation is being prepared on the crime of conspiracy, though it may be necessary to postpone treatment of certain criminal conspiracies which raise difficult issues, e.g. conspiracy to defraud.
(b) Certain Specific Offences Some preliminary work is being done on the law of treason. sedition and allied offences.
XIX Family Law:
(a) Family Property Final report and clauses on joint ownership of the matrimonial home are being prepared. The form of a final report on the use and enjoyment of the household goods is at present under consideration.
(b) Matrimonial Proceedings in Magistrates' Courts. Preparation of the final report and draft legislation are far advanced and it will be possible to complete them when it is known in what form the Children Bill, now before Parliament, will become law.
(c) Conflicts of Jurisdiction affecting Children. A draft working paper dealing with conflicts of jurisdiction within the United Kingdom is due to be considered by the working party this month.
XXI Private International Law:
(a) EEC Convention on the Law applicable to Contractual and Non-Contractual Obligations. Extensive and valuable expert comment has been received on the consultative document produced by the joint working group set up by the Law Commissions. The group has prepared for Her Majesty's Government a comprehensive digest of the comments, together with a detailed interim report containing advice on the draft convention.
(b) The Hague International Law Conference: Conflicts of Laws in respect of Marriage. The joint working group set up by the Law Commissions has given advice to Her Majesty's Government about the answer to be given to a questionnaire circulated by the Permanent Bureau of The Hague Conference and about negotiations held in The Hague in May.
(c) The Hague International Law Conference: Law applicable to Matrimonial Property. The two Law Commissions have set up a joint working group to advise Her Majesty's Government about the negotiations that have been and will be required on this subject.

expected that consideration of any particular subject will be completed depends on a number of factors which make it difficult to make an estimate with any confidence, but, where possible, that information is included.

Subject Progress since last Annual Report
Administrative Law Final report is in draft but legislation is still to be prepared.
Agency (Incapacitated Principal) Work is at a preliminary stage.
Breach of Confidence Important comments on Working Paper No. 58 are still awaited.
Foreign Money Liabilities Work has just been resumed.
International Administration of the Estates of Deceased Persons. Final report is in preparation.
Products Liability A consultative document, Working Paper No. 64/Memorandum No. 20, was published in June.
Trespassers—Civil Liability to Occupiers. Preparation of final report is well advanced but accompanying legislation is still to be drafted.