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Negligence Liability

Volume 931: debated on Friday 6 May 1977

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I beg to move Amendment No. 4, in page 2, line 23, at end insert

or to a notice given to persons generally or to particular persons'.

I remind the House that Clause 2(3) was amended in Committee so that controls on notices parallel to those on contract terms allowed a non-contractual notice to be used reasonably to exclude or limit liability for negligence not involving death or personal injury. While I and my right hon. Friends still believe that the best course would have been to make ineffective all notices given unilaterally, we accept that nothing vital is lost in the change and that the new approach is easier to understand. We also accept that it gives the protection that many of the professions, and others who have made representations to hon. Members on both sides, think that they need in relation to gratuitous services, such as advice, that they may give to individuals, references and valuations. There is, therefore, no intention of seeking to change the original provision. If, however, the Bill is to control notices, whether contractual or not, in the same way that it controls contractual terms, there seems little point in having a separate provision for notices. The amendments to subsections (1) and (2) achieve the same purpose as the amendment accepted in Committee, but do so by integrating the controls on notices with those on contract terms. I am sure that this will commend itself to hon. Members opposite who were successful in persuading the Committee on this point. The other amendments to Clause 2 and those to Clauses 3 and 10 are purely consequential.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 5, in page 2, line 28, after 'term', insert or notice'.

No. 6, in page 2, line 29, leave out subsection (3).

No. 7, in page 2, line 37, after 'term', insert 'or notice'.

No. 8, in page 2, line 38, leave out 'a term or notice'.—[ Mr. Ward.]