Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eighteenth Report


Memorandum by the Lord Chancellor's Department


  1. The Lord Chancellor's Department submits this memorandum in response to the request dated 12 April 2000 on the following point:

    Article 4(a) provides that section 30 of the 1999 Act is not to apply, as regards a party to proceedings to "any proceedings in relation to which that party gave an undertaking before 1 April 2000 which, if it had not been given after that date, would have been an undertaking to which section 30(1) applied". Given that section 30(1) came into force on 1 April 2000 and cannot apply to undertakings given before that date, explain why the disapplication is necessary (and what effect it has) in relation to proceedings for which such prior undertakings were given.

  2. The Department agrees that section 30(1) was not intended to apply to an undertaking given before 1 April 2000 ("prior undertaking") and, if the matter came before the courts, would probably be held not to do so. However, where an organisation has given a prior undertaking to one of its members to meet the member's costs in relation to litigation to which he is a party, and after 1 April 2000 that organisation becomes "a body of a prescribed description" to which section 30 applies, it might argue that section 30 applies to its liability under that undertaking. Article 4(b) of the order deals with new proceedings where a prior undertaking was given; it was thought desirable, and helpful to litigants, their advisers and the courts, to put the matter beyond doubt in relation to earlier proceedings.

17th April 2000

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