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Monopolies Commission (Procedure)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 28 October 1954

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to require the Monopolies Commission to adopt a judicial procedure in place of their present procedure when conducting examinations.

My hon. Friend will appreciate that, as the Commission are not a court of law, and no code of law exists in this field, a judicial procedure in the strict sense would not be appropriate or practicable. Full consideration will, however, be given to any suggestions for procedural changes which are put forward.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the procedural change suggested is quite small and would mean carrying with it the confidence of the businesses which are being examined? Is my right hon. Friend further aware that the change involved is merely that of making the Commission more of an arbitrator and less that of an inquisitor or prosecutor? Would not that be a quite simple change to make, one which would make a lot of difference in the public relations of this Commission and the businesses that were being investigated?

Quite a number of changes have been suggested from time to time over the past few years. Most of them are found on examination to present very considerable difficulty. If my hon. Friend has some particular change in mind and would like to tell me about it afterwards, I should be very happy to have a look at what he suggests.