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Clause 77—(Arbitration)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 20 May 1947

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Lords Amendment; In page 59, line 12, at end, insert:

"and at any stage in the proceedings in any such arbitration the arbiter may and shall if so directed by the Court of Session state a case for the opinion of that Court on any question of law arising in the arbitration."

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The effect of the Amendment is to extend the procedure which is followed when arbitration is resorted to in cases of dispute. This case will arise mainly in connection with the transfer of hospitals to the Secretary of State. For example, under Clause 6 (6) covering the apportionment of voluntary hospital property which is transferred and, under Clause 7 (9), covering the apportionment of property which ranks in part as an endowment of a voluntary hospital, and Clause 9 (9, a) covering other questions arising as to the transfer of a property. There may be legal questions involved in connection with these arbitrations and, for those reasons, I am willing to accept the Amendment.

I am glad that the Government have accepted this Amendment. The House may be aware that, whereas in England it is the general rule that there should be appeals on points of law from arbitrators to the High Court, in Scotland the general rule is that an arbitration is final both on law and fact. Some people think that that is all right where the arbitration is entered into voluntarily by people who know what the consequences are, but I think it ought to be a general rule that a statutory compulsory arbitration should include this provision of an appeal on a point of law. I am glad to see that the Government recognise that, and I hope that in similar cases in future we shall have this kind of provision wherever there is statutory arbitration.

Question put, and agreed to.

Remaining Lords Amendments agreed to. (Several with Special Entries.)