My Lords, I apologise for raising a point on the Bill at such a late stage. In justification, I read the Bill for the first time this morning. Clause 8(1) states:
“If the decision-maker decides that a claim is valid, the decision-maker must then decide the amount of compensation, up to a maximum of £1 million per claim (the ‘compensation cap’)”.
However, Clause 8(9) states:
“The Secretary of State may by regulations change the amount of the compensation cap for the time being specified in subsection (1)”.
So regulations can change the amount of the cap. That plainly leaves it open to the Secretary of State to increase the cap or reduce it, as the case may be. What troubles me a little is that a possible reduction in the cap might make difficulties in relation to claims for compensation that have not come to fruition, are still in the pipeline and undecided. Would a reduction in the compensation cap affect such claims? I raised this point with the noble Lord, Lord Bates, to whom I am grateful for his assistance, and the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, the sponsor of the Bill.
The consequence has been that the Minister has had a discussion with Home Office legal advisers, and four points have been made, which I think should be placed on the record, because they will be of assistance in construing this Bill and deciding what effect it should have.
My Lords, there is a Motion before the House that this Bill should now pass. This is a formality of the House and I do not believe that there is a substantive case from the noble and learned Lord, who said that he only read the Bill this morning, when it has been before the House and has been properly dealt with by it, or that he should be intervening in this way. I propose that the House consider the Motion that is before it.