§ Mr. Dance
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has any statement to make on his Department's recent direction to the Registrar of Restrictive Trading Agreements under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956, as to the order of bringing registered agreements before the Restrictive Practices Court.268W
§ Sir D. Eccles
On 3rd October the Board of Trade gave a direction to the Registrar which had the effect of enabling him to start proceedings on agreements not covered by the previous directions without having to wait until proceedings had been instituted in respect of all those so covered.
This new direction marks the completion of another stage in the operation of the Act. Before the Office of the Registrar was fully established and had gained experience, the Board of Trade, from the knowledge which it possessed, gave directions to ensure that a high proportion of significant and representative cases came before the Restrictive Practices Court at an early stage. The Board of Trade consider that no further directions are needed, and that the Registrar should now exercise his full responsibility under the Act for bringing cases before the court. The final direction was necessary in order to release him from obligations which limited his discretion in this matter, and which would have required the court to examine a large number of agreements on a range of goods defined in the earlier directions before hearing any cases whatever relating to other industries.
The direction was given at the beginning of October so that the permanent responsibilities of the Registrar would be established before the court started its sittings on 6th October.