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Other Procedural Privileges

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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I beg to move Amendment No. 2, in page 7, line 31, leave out from first 'property' to 'which' in line 32.

Amendment No. 2 is a drafting amendment. Amendment No. 4 is a paving amendment. Amendment No. 5 is of substance. It has three main objects. First, its purpose is to clarify the drafting of Clause 14(3) which my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General undertook to examine in Committee in answer to criticisms and doubts raised by the right hon. and learned Member for Wimbledon (Sir M. Havers). Secondly, it brings together all the provisions relating to central banks in one place. I am sure that the House agrees that that is sensible. Thirdly, it ensures that a central bank or other monetary authority shall have the same immunity with regard to execution or in respect of relief by way of an injunction or order for specific performance or for the recovery of land or other property as a State shall have, irrespective of whether the central bank is a separate entity or is acting in the exercise of sovereign authority.

Under the Bill as drafted the immunity of a State's central bank which is a separate entity and is not acting in the exercise of sovereign authority is slightly less than that of a central bank in other circumstances. That is the point that the right hon. and learned Gentleman made in Committee. I hope that he agrees that this amendment covers the point satisfactorily.

I hope that what the Minister said rang with great clarity in your mind, Mr. Speaker. But it is a highly technical matter. The amendment follows an issue that I raised in Committee basically because the independence of the central banks is jealously guarded by them. It is essential that they should be put into an entirely independent position throughout the Bill. I am grateful to the Government for responding to what I said in Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move Amendment No. 3, in page 7, line 42 leave out from '(5)' to 'to' in line 44 and insert:

'The head of a State's diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom, or the person for the time being performing his functions, shall be deemed to have authority to give on behalf of the State any such consent as is mentioned in subsection (3) above and, for the purposes of subsection (4) above, his certificate'.
I hope that I shall explain this amendment with the same clarity. It is equally technical but I am sure that you. Mr. Speaker, will understand every word of it.

The purpose of the amendment is to meet the criticism that whereas Clause 2(7) specifies who may submit to proceedings on behalf of the State there is no provision in Clause 13 about who should be deemed to be entitled to give the consent of the State to execution or to the issue of relief against it by way of an injunction. The amendment provides that it is the head of the State's diplomatic mission who shall be deemed to be competent to give such consent.

There is no need to make any special provision with respect to consent given in a prior written agreement because if the court is satisfied that the agreement was made on behalf of the State, the consent clause in the agreement is sufficient. Provision is needed only to cover the cases where there is no prior consent to execution.

4.0 p.m.

Particularly since I have expounded it with such complete clarity, I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will consider that that meets his point.

Amendment agreed to.