HC Deb 06 June 1996 vol 278 c543W
Mr. Robert McCartney

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) when the Law Reform Advisory Committee commenced work on the subject of landlord liability for failure to repair defective premises; what tenants interest groups it has consulted; and when it will issue its report; [31123]

(2) what factors led the Law Reform Advisory Committee to cease further work on actions arising out of insidious diseases; [31124]

(3) if it is the policy of the Law Reform Advisory Committee to make submissions to the Law Commission on areas of work in which it is interested; [31125]

(4) what is the policy of the Law Reform Advisory Committee in respect of when it addresses issues on which the Law Commission is working. [31128]

Sir John Wheeler

The Law Reform Advisory Committee is an independent non-statutory body whose remit is to keep the civil law of Northern Ireland under review and make recommendations for its reform to the Secretary of State. The committee operates within terms of reference and a programme of law reform which are approved by the Secretary of State. Within these parameters, the committee has an independence in policy matters and a discretion with regard to the working practices it adopts in pursuance of its remit. Accordingly, the advice of the chairman to the committee, the right hon. Lord Justice Carswell, has been sought on those aspects of the hon. and learned Gentleman's questions which refer to the committee's policy areas and detailed working practices.

The sub-committee dealing with the topic of landlord liability topic is at an early stage of the consultative process. It is not therefore possible to say at this stage when a report will be issued. The main committee decided to defer preparation of its report on actions arising out of insidious diseases until the Law Commission has completed discussions with the insurance industry on the remedies of plaintiffs against insurers.

The Law Reform Advisory Committee regards it as an important part of its work to consult the Law Commission regularly. It also considers the work of the Law Commission and decides which topics merit further consideration given the particular relevances to its jurisdiction.