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Clause 12—(Transitional Provisions)

Volume 439: debated on Friday 11 July 1947

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3.30 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 10, line 10, to leave out "forty-seven," and to insert "forty-six."

The effect of this Amendment is so clear that I do not think I need say any more about it.

The purpose of the Amendment is to ante-date the operation of Part I of the Bill to February, 1946. I am afraid we cannot accept that proposal. I have no doubt that the hon. and learned Gentleman has based his Amendment upon the fact that a decision in the case of Adams v.Naylor was given, not in February, but in the early part of 1946, and that, therefore, as from that date, certain proceedings against Crown servants should no longer be taken. For that reason, the hon. and learned Gentleman would wish us to ante-date the provisions of this Bill to the time when that became the case.

Since the decision in the case of Adams v.Naylor was announced in the House of Lords, we set up a form of machinery whereby any claims which might previously have been made the subject of action at law might be made subject to arbitration. A number of claims have, in fact, since that date, been made the subject of the arbitration machinery to the satisfaction of everybody concerned. It would be wholly wrong, in my view, to place those who tarried in putting forward their claims in a more favourable position, because it is a more favourable position, by giving them action at law, than those who decided to take advantage of the arbitration machinery and whose claims are now being dealt with in that way. This Bill provides that equality of treatment in respect of all those cases which arose after the Adams vNaylor decision and before the introduction of the Bill. We have to fix a date somewhere and we thought the right date was the date when the Bill was introduced.

I quite agree with the answer given by the learned Attorney-General, but I would put one question to him. Did all those people who had the right to make claims know of the possibility of the arbitration machinery

In any case where a claim was submitted they certainly knew of that matter, and, if a claim was put forward, the individual concerned would be acquainted with it. The arbitration procedure is well in hand and is being used, and much publicity was given to it at the time. I was asked a Question about it in this House, and the matter was also mentioned in another place.

I think that all the people concerned were well aware of that provision.

In those circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 13 to 18 ordered to stand part of the Bill.