§ 2.57 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD GARDINER)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a third time. This is a Consolidation Bill which has come back from the Joint Consolidation Committee. I am told that some noble Lords are in a good deal of doubt as to exactly what the Consolidation Committee does. Therefore perhaps your Lordships would allow me to take advantage of the occasion to explain shortly what it does. It is in truth like any other Committee. Before it meets it has the Bill and it has a copy of the notes on clauses which the Parliamentary draftsman has prepared. It then meets and deals with the Bill as it would be dealt with, in effect, in a Committee of the Whole House. The draftsman adds anything he wants to add on the Bill as a whole, the Title is postponed and the Bill is then taken clause by clause.
Of course, it is open to any member of the Committee to move any Amendment he wishes, and it is extraordinary what abstruse points can arise, even on a straight consolidation. If it is a consolidation under the 1949 Act minor corrections and improvements can be made, and in that case the Committee has a memorandum from the Lord Chancellor in relation to those Amendments which are sought to be made as "minor corrections and improvements". This is a phrase which, I am afraid, from time to time gives rise to a good deal of semantic argument, as to whether something is a minor correction or improvement—a position which I am now considering.
The whole of the proceedings are recorded and the Reports are available in the Paper Office, as is the current one headed:Seventh Report of the Joint Committee of the House of Lords and the House of Commons in the present Session appointed to consider all Consolidation Bills"—and so on. I understand that the Joint Committee have recently decided that it would be right if, before they met, the draftsman's notes on clauses were also 440 available in the Paper Office, so that if any noble Lord is interested in any particular consolidation but is not a member of the Consolidation Committee he will have every opportunity to express his view.
My Lords, this particular Bill, the Development of Inventions Bill, is a straight consolidation which simply consolidates the Development of Inventions Act 1948, the Development of Inventions Act 1954 and the Development of Inventions Act 1965, but it has the merit of substituting one measure for three. Of course, it saves a lawyer's time if all the Statute Law on one subject is in one place—and not only the time of lawyers. I see that in this particular case the Ministry of Technology and the National Research Development Corporation particularly welcomed this consolidation as being a considerable convenience to them. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a. —(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.