Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Sewel: I recognise that the amendment deals with important issues. The relationship between the parliament and the court is clearly a matter of considerable importance. It is an area upon which I genuinely wish to reflect further. Some protections are already built in, as the noble and learned Lord indicated.

6 Oct 1998 : Column 426

There is perhaps a strong case that they do not go far enough at the moment and I should like the opportunity to think a little more and perhaps find an acceptable way forward. I am not convinced that we can put the Scottish parliament on all fours with the Westminster Parliament in that respect, but there is room to develop further the line that has been taken. I hope that we will be able to see progress certainly by Report Stage and on that basis I hope that the noble and learned Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I am happy to accept that response. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 91 agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 291GA:

After Clause 91, insert the following new clause--

Human rights

(" .--(1) This Act does not enable a person--
(a) to bring any proceedings in a court or tribunal on the ground that an act is incompatible with the Convention rights, or
(b) to rely on any of the Convention rights in any such proceedings,
unless he would be a victim for the purposes of Article 34 of the Convention (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998) if proceedings in respect of the act were brought in the European Court of Human Rights.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the Lord Advocate, the Advocate General, the Attorney General or the Attorney General for Northern Ireland.
(3) This Act does not enable a court or tribunal to award any damages in respect of an act which is incompatible with any of the Convention rights which it could not award if section 8(3) and (4) of the Human Rights Act 1998 applied.
(4) In this section "act" means--
(a) making any legislation,
(b) any other act or failure to act, if it is the act or failure of a member of the Scottish Executive.").

The noble Lord said: I can be brief or I can be long in relation to this amendment. I shall start by being brief and leave it to others to see whether I then need to go long. In essence, the amendment deals with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Government are fully committed to the rights and freedoms set out in that convention and believe that giving effect to them in UK domestic legislation through the Human Rights Bill will bring considerable benefits. The Scotland Bill also contains provisions to ensure that the convention rights are observed by the Scottish parliament and the Scottish executive. We want to ensure that the approaches taken in the Scotland Bill and the Human Rights Bill are consistent so far as possible. That is what the amendments set out to achieve. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: At this time of night I merely indicate that I do not intend to oppose the new

6 Oct 1998 : Column 427

clause. As I believe the Minister is well aware, there are some objections to this approach which have been advanced from the Liberal Democrat Benches by the noble Lord, Lord Lester, about the victim test under Article 34 of the convention. That means that litigants before the Scottish courts raising issues of vires may be entitled to advance certain arguments but not others, even though another party half-way along the bar represented by other lawyers can advance all the arguments. I regret to say that it is a situation which may give rise to a measure of confusion. We can discuss these matters later. On the basis that this clause in

6 Oct 1998 : Column 428

similar form is to be found in the Government of Wales Bill, it will be clearly wrong to oppose it becoming a part of this Bill at this stage.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

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

House resumed.

        House adjourned at twenty-three minutes before three o'clock.

6 Oct 1998 : Column 427

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page