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Page 3, line 5, at end insert—
("(1A) Where injury is sustained accidentally by a person who is engaged in any of the activities set out in subsection (1B), compensation will not be payable unless the person injured was, at the time he sustained injury, taking an exceptional risk which was justified in all the circumstances.
(1B) The activities are—
(a) the apprehension or attempted apprehension of an offender or suspected offender, the prevention or attempted prevention of an offence, or the giving of help to any constable who is engaged in any such activity; or
(b) any activity other than firefighting directed to containing, limiting or remedying the consequence of a crime.").

The noble and learned Lord said: This is another example of what is in form another amendment to the Bill and we would like to see it included in the Bill. But, realistically, we are seeking an amendment to the scheme. Perhaps I may make a suggestion to the noble and learned Lord when he replies. Both of us have been over the arguments many times and perhaps we can confine ourselves to the merits of what is being proposed.

Paragraph 10 of the scheme excludes from compensation people engaged in certain kinds of law enforcement or engaging in,

unless they are taking an exceptional risk. The word "exceptional" rears its head again. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, pointed out in the last debate, the courts and the tribunals will feel that they have to give some effect to a word which Parliament has seen fit to include in the Bill. So this provision is going to be a very real limit on the number of people who will be able to claim under the Bill.

Pausing there for a moment, those exceptions are surprising. First, there is no obvious reason why a person who is present at the scene of a fight, simply from idle curiosity, and who is injured, should be compensated while someone who is public spiritedly trying to restore order or protect someone should be denied compensation. The reasons for that distinction are not self-evident. If there is reasoning behind it, no doubt the noble and learned Lord will tell us.

Secondly, it seems a curious way of encouraging people to co-operate in law enforcement and rescue activities. In this world virtue is not always rewarded, but it is rather strange to turn that unhappy circumstance into a policy. We are puzzled at the whole purpose of this group of exclusions. It may then be asked why in this amendment we are seeking to write that principle into the Bill. As I am sure the noble and learned Lord has divined, for this purpose we are concerned with remedying a much more limited but perhaps more glaring area of injustice. It is found in the words of our amendment, "other than firefighting".

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As at present drafted, the scheme excludes any firefighter injured while seeking to limit or remedy the consequences of arson unless what he was doing was taking an exceptional risk. I shall come to that in a moment. It seems a very mean way to reward firefighters for the risks we require them to take. As I said, they are covered if they are injured while taking an exceptional risk, which is held ex post facto to have been justified. We know that it is easy, with the benefit of quiet contemplation, to pass judgment on an action which was taken in the heat of the moment, and perhaps quite literally so.

For a firefighter, what is an exceptional risk? They are taking grave risks all the time; that is what we ask them to do. I hope that when the noble and learned Lord replies he will tell us, first, the reason for the exclusions in general and, secondly, tell us whether in any event the Government will deem it possible to show an element of generosity to those whose work every day includes risks which would be exceptional for most of us. I beg to move.

Lord Ackner: I may be wrong but, as I understand the position, under the 1964 scheme firefighters injured in the course of dealing with cases of arson have been compensated hitherto. So they are being removed from the scheme. That certainly needs to be justified. The concept of an exceptional risk is very difficult to define. There was a case which perhaps the noble and learned Lord will deal with on the basis of the scheme as proposed. A Mr. Newland fell down a staircase while fighting an arson fire in 1986. He sustained an elbow injury which became chronic and the permanent disability prevented his doing any kind of heavy work. He received £63,500 for loss of earnings, loss of pension and pain and suffering. As I see it, under the exceptional risk rule he might well receive nothing.

The unfairness of certain features of the scheme is an inherent part of the tariff. However, this is not an inherent part of the tariff; it is excluding people from being eligible. Since in the past they have been deemed appropriate subject matters for compensation and have been compensated on a generous scale, I believe that there is a very heavy onus on the Government to justify the exclusion they are proposing. I accordingly support the amendment.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale: I find myself in a position of embarrassment on this amendment because I feel impelled to take up a point which I had hoped to be able to postpone until Third Reading. I confess that I liked neither the original scheme, the 1964 scheme, nor the tariff scheme as it originally stood—and nor, for that matter, the amended tariff scheme.

It seemed to me quite anomalous to single out victims of violent crime for exceptional social support. Let us take the example of someone who falls down and fractures his wrist as a result of slipping off a kerb. He is relegated to the normal—exiguous, it is true—social support under the social security scheme, but if he falls and fractures his wrist as a result of a violent crime he qualifies for compensation under this scheme. There seems to be no reason why that additional social support

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should accrue. The only possible argument is that the state—the public, society—has assumed the responsibility of preventing crime and if someone suffers as a result of crime, he should then be compensated. But we do not carry that far enough if it is true because we do not compensate victims of a crime which causes financial loss or property loss, such as larceny or burglary.

Not only is there that external anomaly, but the tariff scheme itself is a mass of anomalies. The noble and learned Lord who moved the amendment referred to some of them, but there are others. If a young tearaway steals a car and, uninsured, runs into, injures and fractures the wrist of a perfectly innocent bystander, under the scheme there is no compensation for that bystander; but if someone tries to prevent the tearaway getting away and is deliberately run down, there is compensation. That seems quite anomalous when the victim suffers the same injury.

But the matter does not stop there because, as the noble and learned Lord and my noble and learned friend pointed out, there is now an additional complication of exceptional risk. I venture to think that people should be prepared to take a risk, even an exceptional risk, for the prevention of crime. I agree with my noble and learned friend that it is extremely difficult to draw a line between taking a risk and taking an exceptional risk. The risk should be taken although any intervention to prevent crime is liable to result in injury.

Therefore, my attitude throughout the Bill has been, on the whole, to vote against anything that might increase expenditure. I confess that I was not entirely consistent in supporting the previous amendment, which seemed to me to have overwhelming arguments in its favour. In the end, however, we have to make up our minds whether we are going to spend money: whether under the original scheme which has now gone by the board, under the original tariff scheme or under the tariff scheme as it has been amended to the satisfaction of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. We have to ask whether we are justified in spending that money on an exceptional social support. Are we justified in doing that at the moment when we are overspending by between £30 billion and £50 billion a year, thus incurring a debt which future generations will have to repay? Are we justified in such generosity?

I know that what I have said will be anathema to both the noble and learned Lord who is to reply and, I fear, to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. I am right because I note that the noble Lord is nodding his head. I was right that he disapproves. I am afraid that even someone with whom I normally find myself in agreement will disapprove also. Nevertheless, I think that it is at some stage incumbent on us to ask why we are incurring this new addition to debt through this exceptional and anomalous form of social support.

I have other reasons for objecting to the original scheme on constitutional grounds—or rather to its supersession on constitutional grounds—but I shall return to them on Third Reading. The amendment has led me to stand up to say why I cannot support it and although it is attractively phrased and although the noble and learned Lord was right to point to the grossly

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anomalous provision which he is seeking to mitigate, the amendment would add to the expenditure which I think that we are quite unjustified in incurring at the moment.

5.15 p.m.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: Perhaps I may deal first with the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon. I hope that the noble and learned Lord will not think me discourteous if I say that it was so fundamental that it would have been more appropriate to raise on Second Reading rather than in this Committee stage. The noble and learned Lord raised a point which, as I know he is aware, has been discussed in academic circles and by various commentators over the years—

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