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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I do not want to curtail the debate, but I should like to answer the point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner, while it is in my mind. The Act was called the Industrial Tribunals Act 1996. It was amended in 1998 and, when that happened, the title was changed to Employment Tribunals Act. Therefore, it is now properly called the Employment Tribunals Act 1996.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I thank the Minister for that explanation. As I understand it, the date of the Act did not have to be changed to 1998. The date, 1996, could have been retained and the name of the Act altered.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: Therefore, why is the Act not available in the Printed Paper Office? I had great difficulty in obtaining it. Eventually the staff managed to uncover it, but it is still issued from the Printed Paper Office as the "Industrial Tribunals Act 1996".
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I do not want to criticise them, but people in the Library would look up the Act in a book listing the statutes in force and would find the 1996 Act, as amended, including the change of title.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: That may be, but they had great difficulty in finding the Act. Perhaps the problem was that the staff in the PPO went through their list of 1996 Acts and did not find it. If an Act is subsequently amended, it should perhaps at least be cross-referenced to the year 1996 so that the authorities can trace it more easily.
Perhaps I may make a slight digression. I was pleased to see the proposal to insert new Section 13A, which relates to compensation for preparation time. I conducted a case against someone on behalf of a charity. That person lost the case, but it cost our charity a great deal of time and many thousands of pounds in preparing the case. There is a point to be made here. Perhaps that could be taken into consideration in deciding whether or not to award costs. The situation in relation to a charity is rather different. People who sit on an industrial tribunal, in whatever capacity, have less sympathy for a huge corporation than they have for a charity.
Baroness Miller of Hendon: Without responding to comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, in relation to what amendments I or other Conservative Members might table later or in relation to what we believe or do not believe, the noble Lord might like to know that I support the amendment. I took note of what he said with regard to the standing orders and how, if there were one word of dissent, the amendment could not be agreed. I hopeperhaps without much expectationthat the noble Lord does not feel the need to be that one voice of dissent.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As we are moving on to Part 2, my noble friend Lord Wedderburn properly introduced the amendment with some general comments about Part 2. I shall not be as ambitious as that, but I want to say something about Clause 22 because we shall be debating a whole series of amendments on itmost of them tomorrow.
There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about Clauses 22 and 23. Clause 22 is not in any way radical; it makes very few changes. It is in four parts. The first part is subsection (1), which substitutes the words for those in Section 13 of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996. My noble friend Lord Wedderburn said that it is generally the same. It is not generally the same; it is precisely the same. There is no change whatever in the wording of Clause 22(1)(1). Subsection (1A) is new, and all that doesand we will come on to this with future amendmentsis remedy a defect whereby costs in the past could be awarded only against a party and not against the representative of a party. It recognises the caseand this came up in the consultation after the consultation document last yearwhere it is the representative who is at fault and it is the representative against whom costs should be awarded.
I can say without any qualification whatever that I agree with the principle which this amendment seeks to enshrine. The regulations which support the Bill will limit the cases in which costs are awarded and the circumstances set out in the current regulations are repeated in this amendment. What has survived for a number of years over more than one government without it being on the face of the Bill will continue both in primary legislation and in regulation. I put it to the Committee that this amendment is not necessary.
Lord Gladwin of Clee: I do not understand why the amendment to subsection (1) is being resisted. If I could have an assurance that what we are talking about is what both the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner, and I know about, which are cases that a tribunal decides are misconceived, then this provides a way of dealing with that process, awarding costs against a party. As I understand it, this provides a facility for awarding costs against a representative of the party. Perhaps we can try again.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I gave an introduction to the whole of Clause 22 because I thought it might be helpful. This amendment is not about subsection (1A) and it is not about representatives. It comes in line 10, it is about subsection (1). What I am saying about Amendment No. 61 is that the Bill does not change, and I give a flat guarantee that the regulations will not change. It works now; why change it?
Lord McCarthy: It works both ways. If it be the case that nothing is intended to change, why are we putting something in the statute book which already exists in primary legislation? What is the point of putting it in if we are not going to change it? It is bound to make people suspicious, especially if you do not put what is in the regulations on the face of the Bill. I do not see why, if the Government want to reassure us at the beginning of the debate on Part 2 that they cannot accept this amendment.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I asked that question myself because it seemed a sensible question to me. The answer I have been given is that it is easier to understand if we have both the original legislation repeated here together with the changes that are
Lord McCarthy: With respect, it is not all in the same place. If you took our amendment, what is now in another placenamely, "vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably"would be in the sentence.
I thank all Members of the Committee who have spoken to the amendment. The Minister introduced the question of representatives and the amendment is not concerned with that. It is not about Clause 22(1A); it is about Clause 22(1)(a) in line 10. It is true that the Donovan report was not published at a time when such regulations applied. The Donovan report recommended that this rule should apply. The Minister rejoices in his support for this principle. He says it is the answer he has been given. I suspect I would rather have the answer he wants to give me.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No, I asked a question, I was given an answer, which seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate one. You will not drive a wedge between me and officials on this matter. There is a perfectly good argument for saying that Clause 22 makes sense as a whole, including both the old parts and the new parts.
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