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Second Schedule—(Provisions As To The Appeal Tribunal)

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 12 July 1949

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Lords Amendment: In page 22, leave out lines 3 to 20, and insert:

"1.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, the members of the appeal tribunal, other than any members appointed to act for a particular case, shall hold office for such period as may be determined at the time of their respective appointments.
(2) Any member of the tribunal may at any time by notice in writing to the Lord Chancellor resign his appointment.
(3) If a member of the tribunal becomes a member of the advisory committee, his office shall thereupon become vacant.
(4) The Lord Chancellor may declare the office of any member of the tribunal vacant on the ground of incapacity to perform the duties thereof, or on the ground of misconduct.
(5) If any member of the tribunal becomes bankrupt or makes an arrangement with his creditors, his office shall thereupon become vacant
(6) In the application of the preceding provisions of this paragraph to members appointed by the Lord President of the Court of Session, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland or the Secretary of State, references to the Lord President, Lord Chief Justice or Secretary of State, as the case may be, shall be substituted for the references to the Lord Chancellor."

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

This is a matter which relates to an Amendment to which we have agreed on a previous Clause, which refers to the inclusion on the Tribunal, where the chairman of the Tribunal or parties to the dispute require it, of two jurymen in addition to the chairman. The ordinary Tribunal consists of a chairman plus two assessors, and in cases where either the chairman or the two parties to the dispute require it it is proposed to add two jurymen in addition to the chairman.

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain what he means by a juryman in this matter? Can a juryman return a verdict against the president's nominees.

There is a later Amendment as to whether it should be a majority decision, or not.

I believe I tried to explain that the ordinary Tribunal is composed of a chairman, a legal man, and two assessors and that the decision is in the hands of the chairman. It may be that in rather important cases it would be more desirable to have more than one person making the decision; therefore, two other persons should be included who may also have a say in the decision.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 23, line 17, after "president" insert:

"or, in a case where additional members have been appointed, the decision of all, or, in the event of a difference of opinion, of the majority of, the members of the tribunal other than the assessors."

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

This makes a majority decision necessary.

I think it is a good thing that we have this Amendment. I cannot understand why the Government, at an earlier stage, wanted to give the president the final power. It is quite natural that we should go to another place to remove the arbitrary powers put on the president, and now we lay it down quite clearly that in cases where additional persons are appointed the decision shall be the opinion of all, or in the case of a difference of opinion, it shall be the decision of the majority. That is good, sound, policy with which we all agree. But it is really shocking that we should always have to be having amending Bills which include appallingly arbitrary offices which the Government set up.

The Postmaster-General said that this dealt with two extra jurymen. I cannot see that the word "jurymen" comes into it at all. Could he explain how that is effected by this Amendment?

I hope I shall not be accused of "undue interference" with this problem, but the Postmaster-General kept on using the word "juryman." He seems to be unacquainted with the fact that the word "juryman" is a perfectly well-known technical term. Certain persons in the community have to serve on juries. So far as I can make out this has nothing to do with that sort of juryman. I imagine that there are to be special ad hoc appointed members of the Tribunal. If that is so it is a pity that the Postmaster-General did not make it clear. My hon. Friend is obviously completely confused in the matter and it is not his fault. It is due to the Postmaster-General using a technical term in a matter which is not technical. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that could be made clear.

I was indicating assent. If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman prefers it, I will say "yes."

Question put, and agreed to.

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

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to certain of their Amendments to the Bill: Colonel Gomme-Duncan, Mr. Grimston, Mr. Douglas Houghton, Mr. W. R. Williams and Mr. Wilfred Paling; Three to be the quorum.—[ Mr. Wilfred Paling.]

Committee to withdraw immediately.

Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords Amendments reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.