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Lord Northbourne: My Lords, perhaps I may clarify what the Minister has just said. I believe that he said that a person who is drawing income support may search for work but would not be subject to the 48-hour constraint. Is that correct?

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Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I believe that those receiving income support are in a position to negotiate according to their circumstances. Once they have started the job, they go forward from there. But it is right that they do not face the 48-hour constraint, which may be a difficulty.

Lord Swinfen: My Lords, before my noble friend finally sits down, he mentioned in his reply the jobseeker's agreement. Am I right in thinking that anyone who cares for another person, whether elderly, disabled or a small child, can reach an agreement with the Employment Service staff that he may or may not be available for work for a period longer than 48 hours if the Employment Service staff can be persuaded that, in the circumstances, that is not only reasonable but is necessary, because sometimes it may take longer than 48 hours to arrange such matters?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, there are two separate issues here. The first concerns the period within which people must make themselves available; that is, 48 hours. Reference has also been made to the amount of time per week for which a jobseeker must make himself available. In the case of an ordinary jobseeker, that is 40 hours. In the case of those who have various responsibilities, the amount of availability may be reduced. It is a characteristic of the system that the jobseeker may plan for which parts of the week he makes himself available. Therefore, the reality is that by combining the 48-hour rule and the availability rule, there is a considerable degree of flexibility as to when the person actually starts work. That is the crucial point.

Lord Northbourne: My Lords, I think that I understand what the noble Lord is saying but I still find it necessary to have from him an absolute clarification. We are not necessarily talking only about unmarried mothers. We may be talking about mothers, or indeed fathers, who have been deserted or are single for whatever reason. Am I right that people receiving income support who at the same time are seeking a job may make their own arrangements in relation to the delay before the job is taken up? Am I correct in believing that?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, that is my understanding.

Lord Northbourne: My Lords, on that basis, and subject to reading what the noble Lord has said, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale moved Amendment No. 26A:

Page 5, line 32, at end insert:
("( ) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that the ejusdem generis rule applies to this subsection.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment I fear that I must start with a string of apologies. After the most important social and economic issues which your Lordships have been discussing, this raises a technical point of statutory interpretation. Further, it is always expressed in Latin and so it appears in the amendment in Latin. I

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remember, when we were consolidating the Scottish law of criminal procedure, that some of us queried whether it was really necessary that so much of the statute should be in Latin. But that great Scottish judge, Lord Guest, came to the rescue of the draftsman and said firmly, "Yes", it was desirable, at which point we all shut up. So there is a precedent for the words appearing in Latin in the amendment.

Thirdly, I am afraid that lawyers have a very odd way of pronouncing Latin.

A noble Lord: Not at all!

Lord Simon of Glaisdale: My Lords, the rule of ejusdem generis is a rule of common sense, with the courts basing themselves on what Parliament presumably intended by its formulae. A characteristic instance would be a measure concerned with the transport of animals where the legislation might say that it applies to calves, lambs and other animals. Of course, "other animals" covers the whole animal kingdom, but the courts always said that that could not have been the intention of Parliament. Parliament cannot really have meant that menagerie animals should be included. It must be animals like, say, kids and foals if you are going to rely on the words "other animals". In other words, the generality is construed with reference to the particular instances that go before. It is construed ejusdem generis, of the same sort.

What the draftsman has done in this amendment—and, in my submission done most valuably—is to follow a suggestion made by the Renton Committee on preparation of legislation which is still a very rich ore that is insufficiently mined. The committee suggested that it would be a valuable indication if examples were given of the sort of generality that is to be applied.

In those circumstances, this must be to some extent a probing amendment because it seems to be inherent in the fact that when you give examples you are giving particular examples of a generality and those examples are meant to be followed. Therefore, the other instances will be of the same sort of which the examples are exemplary. It could well be said—indeed, I believe it probably is to be said —that when examples are given the courts will, in effect, apply the ejusdem generis rule and people reading the statute will do the same. It is for that reason that I have tabled the amendment in declaratory form. It may well be unnecessary, but I thought that it might be useful for your Lordships to know to what sort of instance, apart from these examples, the draftsman intends the subsection to apply. I beg to move.

5.30 p.m.

Earl Russell: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord is, as usual, quite right. I believe that he owes the House no apology whatever for putting forward legal terminology in legal language. After all, we are making law and we need to have some understanding of what we do. The rule to which the noble and learned Lord has drawn attention is, of course, very much to the point. Perhaps I may give your Lordships an example of something which offends against his rule. I have in mind

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the butchers shop which used to be in the market at Oxford and which advertised itself as, "Family, University and Pork Butchers".

Noble Lords: Oh!

Earl Russell: My Lords, I believe that the understanding of the rule would be very much assisted if we were to accept what the noble and learned Lord suggested. It would clarify the intention of Parliament in a way which I hope would be very helpful to the courts, which may have to consider such matters in the future. The Minister may be able to meet the suggestion if he were to speak with the case of Pepper v. Hart in mind.

Lord Renton: My Lords, I rise to express my support for the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale. As the noble and learned Lord referred to a recommendation of a committee of which I had the honour to be chairman, I can merely say to him how grateful I am to him for supporting our recommendation and suggesting to your Lordships that it is one that could be followed.

Of course, we do have rather similar circumstances to what we find in subsection (3). But, sometimes, when we have those circumstances, a different situation arises because there is another legal rule of interpretation which is exactly what my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham has just reminded me of the expression that I was just about to use: expressio unius est exclusio alterius, if you express one thing, you are deemed to exclude others. I say that just as a precaution and to point out that in subsection (3) that principle cannot apply because we have the expression which reads:

    "The following are examples of restrictions"—

not exclusive examples—

    "for which provision may be made by the regulations".

That indicates that other instances could be given. If other instances are to be given, we must accept the advice of the noble and learned Lord and confine those instances to similar matters. I say that because if we dared to translate the expression ejusdem generis, we could say, "Well, let's use the expression 'similar matters'". However, I think that we had better not do so.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I am extremely grateful for the most useful contribution made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale. I should like to reiterate the comments made by the noble Earl, Lord Russell, by saying that the noble and learned Lord never needs to have any reason to apologise to the House. In his remarks, the noble and learned Lord drew attention to the very valuable and useful legal principle of ejusdem generis.

Having prefaced my remarks with those words, perhaps I may turn to the clause and section which we are now discussing. I must admit that I am slightly puzzled in this case as to how the application of such a rule to subsection (3) would work. Subsection (2) of the clause allows regulations to make provision enabling a claimant to restrict his availability for employment in certain prescribed ways. Subsection (3) lists a number of examples of such restrictions. They are restrictions on the nature, the terms and conditions of employment for which a claimant is available; and the periods for which and

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locality or localities within which he is available. Although they are simple examples and the list is obviously not exhaustive, I must begin by saying that we have no plans to provide for any other types of restriction.

Allowing a claimant to restrict his availability is, by definition, an easement of the general rule. My noble friend and I have, on many occasions in this House, given assurances about the circumstances in which such a restriction will be acceptable. The sorts of restriction which we have listed at subsection (3) are, we believe, reasonable and fair. Although we have no plans to allow others, it is clear that any such restrictions would be in the claimant's interest. Why else should we allow easements to the basic availability rule?

We believe that making subsection (3) subject to the ejusdem generis rule would not protect the claimant, as there is nothing to protect him from. It is not possible to create restrictions to a claimant's availability—which are easements on the entitlement condition which he has to meet —which damage his interests. In subsection (3) the restrictions relate to the,

    "nature of the employment ... the periods for which he is available ... the terms or conditions of employment for which he is available; restrictions on the locality or localities within which he is available".

It seems to us to be difficult to think of any further restrictions which would fall outside that rather general description of what could be done. We will certainly reflect on the comments of the noble and learned Lord and we would be pleased to discuss the point further with him if he felt that would be useful because he has taken a valuable initiative here. However, I hope that against that background and explanation of our approach to this matter, the noble and learned Lord might consider withdrawing his amendment at this stage.

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