Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Peston: My Lords, I never use anybody else's cliches, so I would like to see the Bill simply despatched with alacrity. It is a Bill of which one can be extremely supportive, and I would like to echo the remarks of the Minister, especially his remarks about Lord Justice Saville, who did what I imagine was an intellectually back breaking job in preparing the groundwork for this Bill.

My difficulty was that I did not understand anything about the subject when I started and, in so far as I believe I now do understand the subject of arbitration, it is rather late to decide that we ought to start all over again so that I can make a more positive contribution. However, in due course, having worked at it, I found the subject absolutely fascinating, and I hope that I shall find some way to use my newly acquired knowledge in your Lordships' House on some other occasion, particularly if the noble Lord, Lord Hacking, finds ways of returning us to these matters.

Although the overwhelming interest in the matter rests with the lawyers--and an extraordinarily distinguished group of lawyers joined us on these matters--the reason for the Minister's and my involvement is that we are discussing real business; we are discussing things that are economically valuable to our country. There is a lot of money to be earned by what is called the arbitration community, and the whole point of having this legislation and the reason why we are equally supportive of it is to enable that community, as the Minister said, to compete effectively and efficiently and to bring the business to this country. I, for one, want very much to see this legislation on the statute book and see no reason to delay the matter any further. I hope that the Bill does now pass.

2 Apr 1996 : Column 158

Lord Hacking: My Lords, could I begin by expressing personal pleasure that the noble Lord, Lord Peston, has intervened in this debate. The noble Lord spoke at Second Reading; he made a very short intervention in Committee and, after his short intervention, was corrected by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilberforce. The noble Lord then fell into silence until now, the Third Reading. Therefore, I am very glad that he has come back, and I am glad that he has come back with the confidence of knowing something about the subject.

I would like to thank my noble and learned friend the Minister for accommodating my concern over security for costs. I was very grateful that he came forward with his own amendment on that issue. I express my gratitude over that. However, I express sorrow at not being able to persuade the Minister on the issue of costs, and express even greater sorrow--I do not see the noble Lord, Lord Byron--that I did not get support from my fellow solicitor of the Supreme Court, the noble Lord, Lord Byron, on that issue. My noble and learned friend knows of my continuing concern over this distinction between domestic and international arbitration. I will not repeat the arguments that I put to your Lordships at Second Reading and at Committee and Report, but I would ask my noble and learned friend to continue to note those arguments, particularly the argument that I put forward at Report, where I sought to show to your Lordships that nobody would be disadvantaged in the domestic market by removing altogether this distinction between domestic and international arbitration.

Therefore, I live in hope--although I regret that it was not done as a primary matter as this Bill was passing through your Lordships' House--that my noble and learned friend will revisit the subject and will do so by introducing an appropriate statutory order to remove that distinction altogether. My noble and learned friend has indicated that he hopes to do that by the end of this year. May he take polite notice from me that I intend to put down a Starred Question before the Summer Recess to find out how his consultation process is going on that issue, and I intend again, if he may take notice of this, to put down another Starred Question after the Summer Recess to find out again how his consultation process is going.

It therefore falls upon me to join with my noble and learned friend and, indeed, with the noble Lord, Lord Peston, in paying tribute to the departmental advisory committee on arbitration law to Lord Justice Saville, who again has honoured us with his presence in the Chamber this afternoon, and also, as I am sure Lord Justice Saville would wish me to do, to his two successors, the noble and learned Lords, Lord Mustill and Lord Steyn, for their contribution to the work of that committee.

It has been a long journey. I do not know if my noble friend Lord Cullen of Ashbourne remembers--he is sitting right in front of me at the moment--the debate in which he participated in this House in May 1978, when he gave a good thrust forward for arbitration law reform. I do not know if the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, remembers participating in that debate in 1978 and, indeed, I do not know if the noble and

2 Apr 1996 : Column 159

learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, remembers that the first book that he ever wrote was on the subject of arbitration. The book, I believe, has now gone out of print, but perhaps the noble and learned Lord could be persuaded to revisit that subject. Now, some 18 years after the debate of 1978, your Lordships have reached the point of passing the Bill. Therefore, I wish it all speed and happiness through the other place and speed and happiness onto the statute book.

Lord Donaldson of Lymington: My Lords, I should like to join in the general congratulations with great confidence, without the slightest authority, on behalf of the judicial members and ex-judicial members of this House who joined in the various stages of this Bill, and congratulate the Government on achieving this stage in the proceedings.

Lord Justice Saville, undoubtedly, has been a driving force--not the only one, but a major driving force--and I join in the tributes to him. I can assure the Minister that I shall not be putting down any Starred Questions. I am not even sure that I know how to do it.

My final word is that I believe the Bill will have a wider effect than its mere terms because of the way it has been drafted. It is beautifully drafted in terms of clarity. I may be wrong, but I believe it is the first time we have ever seen an Act or Bill with parenthetical references by way of example. I look at Clause 40: "(see Sections 32 and 45)". I regard that as enormously valuable and I hope that it will be regarded as a precedent for other Bills that come before this House. May I once again congratulate all concerned and wish the Bill well.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

Deer (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill [H.L.]

3.58 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Deer (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, has consented to place her prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.

Bill read a third time.

Clause 1 [Constitution, functions and membership of Deer Commission for Scotland]:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Lindsay) moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 16, after ("of") insert ("deer in Scotland").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I indicated at Report that I would be tabling an amendment to Clause 1 to make a specific mention of welfare in subsection (1)(a) of the 1959 Act dealing with the general functions of the commission in response to the widespread view taken by your Lordships that that is needed. The

2 Apr 1996 : Column 160

amendment before the House would have the effect of ensuring that the welfare of deer is a matter which is always kept under review by the commission.

As I have made clear throughout our discussions on the subject, welfare is at the heart of the 1959 Act which, among other things, provides greater protection for the welfare of deer than is available for probably any other wild animal in Scotland. The deer commission has taken an interest in deer welfare from its inception and has conducted a number of research enquiries into deer welfare issues in conjunction with the Lasswade veterinary centre. The commission has also developed a good working relationship with bodies concerned with animal welfare, including the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and has, for example, recently agreed with that society to prepare guidelines on the use of enclosures for managing wild deer.

The welfare of deer is also at the heart of the Bill before your Lordships. All night shooting will henceforth be subject to authorisation and the code of practice for night shooting prepared by the commission. All driving of deer for the purpose of taking or killing them will be subject to a code of practice to be prepared by the commission. Clause 3, on the commission's advisory and research powers, now includes a specific reference to welfare as an area the commission can devote its resources to.

I have also confirmed that welfare is an integral part of sustainable management, a general function of the commission introduced by this Bill. It is an essential component of sustainability that deer as a species have a right to co-exist with humans and cannot be treated simply as human property to do with as we please. We must respect their right to live healthy lives in balance with their habitat. Indeed, the legal status of wild deer in Scots law encapsulates this fact neatly. Deer, when wild, belong to no one but themselves and can roam freely, subject only to controls when they conflict with other land uses and the rights of landowners to take or kill deer on their land.

I have also described the legal advice I have received about the possible dangers we might face if we were to introduce a new general function of welfare alongside the existing functions; in essence we risk creating a duty which might override the other general functions, and perhaps even run into real conflict with the traditional practices of sporting, shooting and population control. For that reason I have not been able to support amendments to this effect.

I have also not been prepared to introduce the word "welfare" into the balancing duty since I see welfare as a matter central to the commission's concerns and not one which should be balanced against the commission's general functions. I have therefore concluded that the most appropriate mention of welfare is to single it out as a matter to be kept under review by the commission in its general work. This will have the effect of ensuring that welfare concerns are always at the centre of the commission's work and that all issues relating to welfare can be tackled by the commission.

Moreover, the commission will be able to keep under careful review the impact on deer welfare of its own activities and where necessary adapt its policies and

2 Apr 1996 : Column 161

practices to take account of that impact. At the same time this stipulation will not cut across the existing general functions which the commission will be able to pursue while having regard to the welfare stipulations in the specific functions throughout the Act.

I believe that this amendment will capture the aim of those who have pressed for the inclusion of welfare in this section. I acknowledge that many Members of the House at different stages of the Bill did so. The amendment will capture that aim while ensuring that the commission is able to carry out its general functions effectively. I beg to move.

4 p.m.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for these amendments and support them. They give effect to the unanimity of expression which was present at our hearings in Edinburgh and during the various stages of the Bill as your Lordships have considered it. There is perhaps one point I might put to my noble friend. He revealed that the Red Deer Commission and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are conducting a study to produce a code of practice for the management of deer in enclosures. My noble friend uses the word "management" in perhaps its more euphemistic sense. I think he means the culling of deer in enclosures. If that study is going on, can I suggest to my noble friend that he does what he can to encourage the Red Deer Commission and the SSPCA to consult with the Association of Deer Management Groups before they produce any code of guidance which obviously should be acceptable to all sides of the land use debate in Scotland. Having made that suggestion to my noble friend, I thank him again for his amendments and support them.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page