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Lord Williams of Elvel: All the points that I could make have been made. The Minister has made his point. There is one fundamental point about the jurisdiction of the adjudicator under the scheme. When it comes to the end, the scheme says:

That is our basic problem. Either it is a scheme for adjudication or it is a scheme for arbitration. In the Bill, in the Government's view, and in the Latham Report, it should be a scheme for adjudication, which is quite different from arbitration.

Earl Ferrers: I could say, but I shall not say it because it is not totally true, that adjudication and arbitration are matters of semantics. They are not. They are different, but they are confusing words.

The noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, said that adjudication has always been there. It is true that it has. There is no doubt that what we are trying to do is to have a system of adjudication which speeds the process of arbitration. It is a difficult balance to strike, because under the old system of adjudication one could have a contract going ahead. There is then a row and someone says, "I am owed £50,000." The adjudicator comes along and says, "No, you are owed only £40,000". That is accepted and the work goes on. Then about two years later everything is blown apart, and the matter goes to arbitration. All that adjudication can be too easily lost. Then the parties become involved with the enormous expense of arbitration.

Although it is not easy, we have tried to stop that exercise being protracted so far down the line and being enormously expensive by saying, "Let us have an adjudication principle which is quick, simple and cheaper and which is binding upon the two people unless in advance they say that they do not want it to be binding". If they do not say that in advance, it is reasonable to say that it is binding.

That is where there is a difficulty between arbitration and adjudication. There will be no simple answer but we believe that our proposal is good because it provides clarity, expediency, and reasonable justice. The noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, said that I was an asymptote. I am sure that I am, but I am not certain what I am supposed to do--

Lord Howie of Troon: The Minister is not an asymptote; he is pursuing an asymptotic path. However, he would make an excellent asymptote if he were one.

Earl Ferrers: I am not an asymptote and neither am I a butterfly. That is good because I am following an asymptote's path. That is interesting because I did not know that I had done so. We are using the mechanism of arbitration--

Baroness Seear: Would it be unreasonable to ask the noble Lord, Lord Howie, to explain what the curious creature is because I am sure that nine-tenths of us do not have a clue?

Lord Howie of Troon: I shall try to help because I am a helpful kind of fellow. I am sure that nine-tenths

1 Apr 1996 : Column 20

of the Committee know perfectly well what it is. It is a term of geometry. It consists of two geometric paths which approach each other but never actually reach. It is a little like trying to convince the Government of anything at all.

Earl Ferrers: As usual, I am deeply indebted to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, because she had the temerity to ask the question that I did not dare ask for fear of being considered by the Committee far too ignorant. Of course, I am because I had not the slightest idea of what an asymptote was nor what its path was. I thought that it was some kind of animal, but I discover that it is a geometric path. I am sure that the noble Baroness always walks down geometric paths and knows exactly where she is when she does so. I am sure that we are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Howie, for the total and gross distraction from our consideration of Clause 111.

We are trying to use the mechanism of arbitration, which is conveniently set out in the Arbitration Bill. The mechanism will be guided by the principles of adjudication and not of arbitration. I return to a point that I made once or twice and I ask the indulgence of the Committee in making it again. This is not an easy matter. We are trying to stop an elongated process and to make it shorter, simpler and more concise. We are trying to introduce a process which, in the end, will cost the industry a great deal less and will give satisfaction to the whole of industry.

That is what we have suggested in the draft scheme and it remains for us to hear what those involved think about it. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, asked what we had heard about it during the weekend. We have heard some sympathetic remarks about our draft scheme. Some people have contacted us saying that they believe it to be a good idea. That is the beginning of the consultation. We have put it out for Members and those in the various parts of industry to consider before we get too far. I hope that members of the Committee will consider that we have been understanding and have produced a scheme which they can criticise--regrettably they have criticised it--and we can take that into account before we produce the next scheme.

3.44 p.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 111, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 126; Not-Contents, 71.

Division No. 1


Aberdare, L.
Abinger, L.
Addison, V.
Ailesbury, M.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alport, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Broughshane, L.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalfont, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L. [Teller.]
Clanwilliam, E.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Cockfield, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cuckney, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dundonald, E.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Gainford, L.
Goschen, V.
Greenhill of Harrow, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Halsbury, E.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harlech, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hayter, L.
Hemphill, L.
Henley, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Howe, E.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Inglewood, L.
Ironside, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Kimball, L.
Kintore, E.
Kitchener, E.
Knollys, V.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
Lytton, E.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Manton, L.
Marsh, L.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Milverton, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mountevans, L.
Mountgarret, V.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Nelson, E.
Norrie, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Rawlings, B.
Renton, L.
Rodney, L.
Romney, E.
St. Davids, V.
Sandford, L.
Savile, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Swansea, L.
Swinfen, L.
Terrington, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.


Addington, L.
Annan, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Desai, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fisher of Rednal, B.
Fitt, L.
Gallacher, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.]
Gregson, L.
Grey, E.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Lockwood, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Monkswell, L.
Nicol, B.
Ogmore, L.
Peston, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Rea, L. [Teller.]
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Sainsbury, L.
Scanlon, L.
Seear, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Stallard, L.
Stedman, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tonypandy, V.
Tordoff, L.
Vernon, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Clause III, as amended, agreed to accordingly.

1 Apr 1996 : Column 22

Earl Ferrers: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

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