Disability Rights Commission Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords

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Recovery of expenses of providing assistance.     7. - (1) This section applies where-
    (a) the Commission has given an individual assistance under section 6 in relation to any proceedings; and
    (b) any costs or expenses (however described) have become payable to him by another person in respect of the matter in connection with which the assistance is given.
      (2) A sum equal to any expenses incurred by the Commission in providing the assistance shall be a first charge for the benefit of the Commission on the costs or expenses concerned.
      (3) It is immaterial for the purposes of this section whether the costs or expenses concerned are payable by virtue of a decision of a court or tribunal, an agreement arrived at to avoid proceedings or to bring them to an end, or otherwise.
      (4) The charge created by this section is subject to-
    (a) any charge under the Legal Aid Act 1988 and any provision in that Act for payment of any sum to the Legal Aid Board; and
    (b) any charge or obligation for payment in priority to other debts under the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 and any provision in that Act for payment of any sum into the Scottish Legal Aid Fund.
      (5) Provision may be made by regulations made by the Secretary of State for the determination of the expenses of the Commission in cases where this section applies.
Codes of practice.     8. - (1) The following section shall be inserted at the beginning of Part VII of the 1995 Act (supplemental)-
"Codes of practice.     53A. - (1) The Disability Rights Commission may prepare and issue codes of practice giving practical guidance-
    (a) to employers, service providers or other persons to whom provisions of Part II or Part III apply on how to avoid discrimination or on any other matter relating to the operation of those provisions in relation to them; or
    (b) to any persons on any other matter, with a view to-
      (i) promoting the equalisation of opportunities for disabled persons and persons who have had a disability, or
      (ii) encouraging good practice regarding the treatment of such persons,
    in any field of activity regulated by any provision of Part II or Part III.
      (2) The Commission shall, when requested to do so by the Secretary of State, prepare a code of practice dealing with the matters specified in the request.
      (3) In preparing a code of practice the Commission shall carry out such consultations as it considers appropriate (which shall include the publication for public consultation of proposals relating to the code).
      (4) The Commission may not issue a code of practice unless-
    (a) a draft of it has been submitted to and approved by the Secretary of State and laid by him before both Houses of Parliament; and
    (b) the 40 day period has elapsed without either House resolving not to approve the draft.
      (5) If the Secretary of State does not approve a draft code of practice submitted to him he shall give the Commission a written statement of his reasons.
      (6) A code of practice issued by the Commission-
    (a) shall come into effect on such day as the Secretary of State may by order appoint;
    (b) may be revised in whole or part, and re-issued, by the Commission; and
    (c) may be revoked by an order made by the Secretary of State at the request of the Commission.
      (7) Where the Commission proposes to revise a code of practice-
    (a) it shall comply with subsection (3) in relation to the revisions; and
    (b) the other provisions of this section apply to the revised code of practice as they apply to a new code of practice.
      (8) Failure to observe any provision of a code of practice does not of itself make a person liable to any proceedings, but any provision of a code which appears to a court or tribunal to be relevant to any question arising in any proceedings under Part II or Part III shall be taken into account in determining that question.
      (9) In this section-
    "code of practice" means a code of practice under this section;
    "discrimination" means anything which is unlawful discrimination for the purposes of any provision of Part II or Part III; and
    "40 day period" has the same meaning in relation to a draft code of practice as it has in section 3 in relation to draft guidance."
      (2) The Commission may treat any consultation undertaken by the National Disability Council under section 52(2) of the 1995 Act as being as effective for the purposes of section 53A(3) of that Act as if it had been undertaken by the Commission.
      (3) Nothing in this section affects the Commission's powers apart from this section to give practical guidance on matters connected with its functions.
Conciliation of disputes under Part III of the 1995 Act.     9. For section 28 of the 1995 Act (arrangements by the Secretary of State with a view to the settlement of disputes under Part III) there shall be substituted the following section-
"Conciliation of disputes.     28. - (1) The Commission may make arrangements with any other person for the provision of conciliation services by, or by persons appointed by, that person in relation to disputes arising under this Part.
    (2) In deciding what arrangements (if any) to make the Commission shall have regard to the desirability of securing, so far as reasonably practicable, that conciliation services are available for all disputes arising under this Part which the parties may wish to refer to conciliation.
      (3) No member or employee of the Commission may provide conciliation services in relation to disputes arising under this Part.
      (4) The Commission shall ensure that any arrangements under this section include appropriate safeguards to prevent the disclosure to members or employees of the Commission of information obtained by a person in connection with the provision of conciliation services in pursuance of the arrangements.
      (5) Subsection (4) does not apply to information relating to a dispute which is disclosed with the consent of the parties to that dispute.
      (6) Subsection (4) does not apply to information which-
    (a) is not identifiable with a particular dispute or a particular person; and
    (b) is reasonably required by the Commission for the purpose of monitoring the operation of the arrangements concerned.
      (7) Anything communicated to a person while providing conciliation services in pursuance of any arrangements under this section is not admissible in evidence in any proceedings except with the consent of the person who communicated it to that person.
      (8) In this section "conciliation services" means advice and assistance provided by a conciliator to the parties to a dispute with a view to promoting its settlement otherwise than through the courts."
Procedure for amending s.7(1) of the 1995 Act.     10. For subsections (3) to (10) of section 7 of the 1995 Act (exemption for small businesses) there shall be substituted the following subsections-
    "(3) Before making an order under subsection (2) the Secretary of State shall consult-
    (a) the Disability Rights Commission;
    (b) such organisations representing the interests of employers as he considers appropriate; and
    (c) such organisations representing the interests of disabled persons in employment or seeking employment as he considers appropriate.
      (4) The Secretary of State shall, before laying an order under this section before Parliament, publish a summary of the views expressed to him in his consultations."
Regulations.     11. - (1) Any power under this Act to make regulations is exercisable by statutory instrument.
      (2) Any such regulations may make-
    (a) different provision for different cases or areas;
    (b) provision enabling a person to exercise a discretion in dealing with any matter; and
    (c) incidental, supplemental, consequential or transitional provision.
      (3) A statutory instrument containing any such regulations shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
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