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Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: My Lords, before the Lord Advocate sits down, I wonder whether he could assist us by identifying which of the provisions referred to in subsection (3) are affected by the word "shall" and which by the word "may". As he began this helpful discussion as to what these sections involve, perhaps he could deal with Sections 53(1), 54(3), 61(6) and 62(5). I may be wrong, but I do not think he dealt with them in detail.

Lord Hardie: The noble and learned Lord will be well aware of the provisions in the statute and will know which ones contain "shall" and which contain "may". If he is unaware of those, I shall write to him in due course. Section 53, subsections (1) and (5) relate to the appointment of a receiver in the prescribed form, as the noble and learned Lord will remember, to be delivered to the registrar of companies within seven days of an execution for registration. On receipt of the relevant document and the requisite fee, the registrar has to enter the particulars of the appointment in the register of charges. Section 54, subsections (3) and (4) provide that, where the receiver is appointed by the court, the court's interlocutor is required to be delivered to the registrar for registration by or on behalf of the petitioner within seven days. Again, there is a question of a fee.

I do not know whether there are any further details that the noble and learned Lord wishes to have. I am happy to deal with any particular provision.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: My Lords, I am sure that the noble and learned Lord will be happy to write to me in detail about the fees involved.

Lord Hardie: My Lords, I am sure that they are much more modest than the noble and learned Lord's fees.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 226N:

Page 100, line 31, after ("definitions),") insert--
("(a) in the definition of "the Crown", after "of" there is inserted "the Scottish Administration or of", and

On Question, amendment agreed to.

3 Nov 1998 : Column 261

Clause 118 [Interpretation]:

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 227:

Page 55, line 30, at end insert--
(""tribunal" means any tribunal in which legal proceedings may be brought").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 228 not moved.]

Clause 119 [Index of defined expressions]:

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 229:

Page 57, leave out line 17.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendments Nos. 229A to 230:

Page 57, line 19, column 2, leave out ("Section") and insert ("Sections 105(5A) and").
Page 58, line 16, at end insert--

("Scottish public authority with mixed functions or no reserved functions Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part III of Schedule 5")

Page 58, line 21, at end insert--

("Tribunal Section 118(1)")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 121 [Transitional provisions etc.]:

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 230A:

Page 58, line 37, after ("53(2)") insert ("and (3)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 122 [Commencement]:

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 230B:

Page 58, line 38, leave out from beginning to ("shall") and insert ("Sections 18 to 39, Parts II to V, sections 109 to 116 and section 117 (except so far as relating to paragraphs 9, 10, 17 and 21 of Schedule 8)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the effect of this, let us be frank, rather cryptic amendment is to bring the parts of the Scotland Bill which deal with elections into force immediately on Royal Assent. That is not to say that the elections themselves will take place immediately on Royal Assent. There will be a period of time between Royal Assent and the calling of the elections. It is just that this provision enables those aspects of the Bill dealing with elections to be brought into effect immediately after Royal Assent. Normally, provisions should not be brought into force less than two months after Royal Assent, which in this case would mean mid-January 1999. As the elections are to be held on 6th May 1999, this leaves little time for the detailed elections provisions under Clauses 11 and 14 to be put in place, not least because these are affirmative orders. The amendment therefore brings forward the commencement of the elections provisions allowing the orders to begin their parliamentary passage before Christmas. This, in turn, will ensure that the orders are in place well before the elections, which will be of advantage to electoral administrators and candidates alike. I am sure noble Lords will agree that this is a desirable objective.

I should note that there is a small lacuna in the amendment, in that it would inadvertently commence amendments to the Insolvency Act 1986 which have been

3 Nov 1998 : Column 262

inserted by Amendment No. 226M, which we discussed earlier. We therefore intend to make the necessary correction at Third Reading.

This is the last amendment with which we will deal tonight. It may be of benefit to the House if I indicate briefly a number of areas, in addition to those signalled earlier in debate, in which we may bring forward amendments at Third Reading. These include improving the layout of Schedule 5, the reservation of data protection in Schedule 5, the definition of administrative law, further minor amendments to Schedule 4, the appointment of civil servants by Scottish Ministers, the extension of the protection in Clause 23 to cover former Ministers and civil servants, the Registers of Scotland Trading Fund, the drafting of Clause 48(5), and further amendments in connection with the use of the term "enactment". We shall also be reinstating Amendment No. 204A, which the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, identified last night had been omitted from the Marshalled List because of a printing error. We are bringing it back. I hope that that is of assistance to the House. I beg to move.

10.45 p.m.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, we are grateful to the Minister for that foretaste of some of the amendments that the Government will bring forward for Third Reading. I wonder whether the noble Lord could try to ensure that we get these amendments as soon as possible and, it is to be hoped, before we leave London for the weekend. In this case, I do not necessarily mean that the Government should wait until Friday. Whereas some of us may be here on Friday, other noble Lords may not be. Even if we receive the amendments informally, those of us who have taken part in the proceedings on the Bill will be grateful.

As far as I could follow them, I am certain that we will be welcoming many, if not all, of them as responses to points that have been made during the 14 days we have spent on the Bill. One of the interesting aspects of the Bill as it has gone through the House is that many of the points made in debate have been taken on board by the Government and, I suspect, have also led to a rethinking by the Government on other parts of the Bill. We have seen a fair raft of amendments from the Government.

Perhaps the final point I should make regarding this amendment is that those of your Lordships who thought that we were about to escape the Scotland Bill next Monday forever have just been told that before Christmas we will have more happy hours looking at the many orders which will have to be brought forward in order to run the elections. With that pre-Christmas present, I am content with the noble Lord's amendment.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: My Lords, will the noble Lord please consider returning to the practice of not having Scottish business on a Monday?

On Question, amendment agreed to.

In the Title:

[Amendment No. 231 not moved.]

        House adjourned at fourteen minutes before eleven o'clock.

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