HC Deb 15 December 1982 vol 34 cc153-4W
Mr. Hannam

asked the Minister for Trade when Her Majesty's Government will bring part II of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 into force.

Dr. Vaughan

I have made an order under section 20(3) of the Act bringing part II into force on 4 July 1983. Those who provide services under contracts made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on or after that date will, unless it is otherwise agreed between the parties, be subject to a statutory obligation to do so with reasonable care and skill, to provide the services within a reasonable time and not to make more than a reasonable charge.

I have also made an order under section 12(4) excluding from the provisions of section 13, which implies that services will rendered with reasonable care and skill, the services rendered by company directors to their companies and the services of those acting as advocates in court, before tribunals or before arbitrators. The courts have held that solicitors enjoy the same immunity from suit as barristers in respect of their conduct of proceedings in court and certain pre-trial work. It seems possible that the courts would hold that the same immunity extended to other advocates and to proceedings before tribunals and arbitrators. Similarly the duty owed to a company by a director who has no contract of service is not the same as that which would be applied by section 13. The exclusion order will ensure that no change is made in the present law applicable to company directors or those acting as advocates in court, before tribunals or before arbitrators.

I hope that trade associations and similar bodies representing the service industries will examine part II of the Act and will get in touch with my Department at once if they think that it will impose new burdens on them. I shall be prepared to consider a further exclusion order if I am satisfied that part II will impose additional responsibilities on those providing particular types of service.

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