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Baroness Blatch: To take the special cases contained within both this present amendment and those that are to come, we are not talking about minor variations from the tariff scheme. We are talking about very substantial numbers of cases if taken altogether. The same principle applies. A very real attempt was made to look at 20,000 awards right across the board, including the types of cases to which we are referring, and including some that are very complex and difficult. The aim was to arrive at a semi-scientific judgment on the basis of that sample, which, as the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, said, is a fairly substantial number of cases. We shall continue to consider whether that can be refined. The view has been taken that there should be a tariff scheme. All the arguments about moving away from a tariff scheme continue to apply.

It is very interesting that, while my noble friend hinted that the Government could save money if they took on board some of these amendments, every single example used so far has doubled, trebled or quadrupled the amount of award. All the examples used stated that the general award would be X, the award from the tariff would be Y. In each case the tariff award was lower

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than would be the general award. That was used as an illustrative case, both by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer, and by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. We are saying: yes, there is an element of rough justice in this; some will receive more under the scheme, and some will receive less. But the scheme is a real attempt to respond speedily to people who have been the subject of criminal assault. We have also tried to make the scheme readily understood. I keep using the word "transparent". It is very important that people see and understand the nature of the scheme, together with money for aftercare, loss of earnings and loss of pension rights. Frankly, I want to stay with that principle. The numbers of occasions and the numbers of groups cited throughout the day in an appeal to move away from the tariff scheme and towards the common law scheme invalidate the whole essential thrust of the Government's case to produce a tariff scheme.

Lord Archer of Sandwell: The noble Baroness takes comfort from the fact that the Government looked at 20,000 awards. I have no doubt that they did it very carefully. I accept that the results reflect the average of those awards. The whole thrust of our argument is that there are some kinds of injury where the average simply bears no relationship to the worst cases.

I cannot make it any clearer than I have tried to make it already. When the noble Baroness reflects upon this matter after the benefit of a night's sleep and reads what we have all said perhaps she may at least take in that argument and appreciate that what she has said is not an answer to the argument. It is true that the examples that we have given will increase some of the awards and thus the cost of the scheme, though not, I suspect, as substantially as the noble Baroness appears to think. Perhaps someone may do a little work on this and some figures will be available, as the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, suggested in another context a few minutes ago. If that is the price of doing justice in the worst cases it seems to be a price that is worth paying.

However, this is perhaps not the occasion to press the matter further. I should like to give the noble Baroness an opportunity to do what I have suggested. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 29 not moved.]

Lord Archer of Sandwell moved Amendment No. 30:

After clause 2, insert the following new clause—

Exclusion from Tariff of mental injury

(". The Scheme shall provide for the calculation of a compensation award to a claimant in respect of a claim in whole or in part for psychological, psychiatric or other mental injury to be made upon the same principles as an award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity at common law.").

The noble and learned Lord said: We have been round this course so often that your Lordships shall not be wearied further by it. Psychological injuries are of a type which we argue cannot fit into the categories of a tariff scheme. Those of us who have had to deal professionally with psychological injuries will know the vast amount of psychiatric and other technical evidence with which the court is confronted. It is impossible to

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expect a tariff scheme to incorporate all of that. When we looked at the scheme to see what was the tariff figure against shock we found that there was a note but no figure at all. The tariff simply does not cater for shock, as my noble friend Lord McIntosh said earlier in the debate. I assume that the reason is that the Law Commission is looking at the whole field. I hope that at a not too distant date it will make a number of recommendations which can be given effect to when they arise. But, if we are to be confronted with a tariff, that will not make the process any easier. I shall not repeat all the arguments that we have already traversed in the course of the debate. I beg to move the amendment.

Baroness Blatch: This is yet another group of people for whom noble Lords opposite believe that the tariff scheme is not appropriate and for whom the common law damages approach is the answer. We can no longer argue that this is just a small example of how a tariff scheme and a common law damage scheme can work alongside each other. Just as the noble and learned Lord cannot add anything to his argument in pressing for yet another special case—we have been dealing with special cases for a long time as part of today's debate—I do not believe I can take the matter much further. I do not agree with the noble and learned Lord. I believe that a real attempt has been made to arrive at a tariff scheme that reflects complexity, the range of injuries and what the board has awarded in a large number of cases. I believe that, if we are to have a tariff scheme, to deal with all these matters in a different way is not acceptable or sustainable. It will introduce unpredictability and instability. We know that at the moment with the common law scheme costs escalate uncontrollably. I have suggested that there will be no caps on the highest award. All these categories will be brought back into the common law scheme, with all the complexity of introducing the administrative arrangements to deal with them, taking each of the categories suggested by the amendments today case by case. I believe that it will

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wholly invalidate the changes that we are trying to make: predictability, stability, transparency and speed of response to people who are the victims of crime. We wish to have something that is predictable, controllable and affordable to the taxpayer who has to meet the bill.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: If these matters were indeed in the tariff, the Minister might have a case; but they are not. The tariff says "Shock—see notes" and then gives five different levels of seriousness of shock, such as disabling or temporarily disabling, over different periods of time. When one looks at the notes, there is simply a list of different kinds of shock or mental injury (which is what we are talking about) and there is no attempt at all to produce an effective tariff. There is no predictability in the tariff so far as concerns mental injury. There is no transparency. There is no certainty, and there is no speed. Beyond that, the Government have already acknowledged that the Law Commission is looking into this matter and that anything that they do in the future will have to be changed.

Whatever my noble and learned friend may decide to do about the amendment, it does not come well from the Government to claim that the tariff provides an adequate description of the compensation amounts for mental injury.

Lord Archer of Sandwell: The noble Baroness does not respond and she is under no obligation to do so. I hoped that she would perhaps reflect on what my noble friend just said. This is not the occasion to seek the view of the Chamber. Perhaps we shall meet again on this same territory. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of Courtown: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

        House adjourned at three minutes before ten o'clock.

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