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Lord Kimball: My Lords, despite the late hour, we have had a very good debate. I am most grateful to all noble Lords and Baronesses who have supported me in my amendment. We keep using the term "unique". I do not know whether it is unique in your Lordships' House that almost 50 per cent. of the contributions to the debate have been made by noble Baronesses on all sides of the House. There is only one extra male speaker.

I should like to say how grateful everybody in Leicestershire and the museum service will be for what the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, has said,

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making it perfectly clear that some form of joint board or committee to maintain an integrated museum service is in everybody's mind.

After the forthright and positive way in which my noble friend has wound up the debate, I hope that the whole House will agree that the proper thing for me to do is to thank him for the guidance in his wind-up speech and to seek your Lordships' permission to withdraw my amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, with considerable reluctance I do not move my amendment.

[Amendment not moved.]

On Question, Motion agreed to.

        House adjourned at thirteen minutes before one o'clock.

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Official Report of the Committee on the

Arbitration Bill [H.L.]

Wednesday, 28th February 1996.

The Committee met in the Moses Room at four of the clock.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill) in the Chair.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill): Before I put the Question that the Title be postponed, it may be helpful to remind your Lordships of the procedure for today's Committee. Except in one important respect, our proceedings will be exactly as in a normal Committee of the Whole House. We shall go through the Bill clause by clause; noble Lords will speak standing; all noble Lords are free to attend and participate; and the proceedings will be recorded in Hansard. But the House has agreed there shall be no Divisions in the Committee. Any issue on which agreement cannot be reached should be considered again at the Report stage when, if necessary, a Division may be called. Unless, therefore, an amendment is likely to be agreed to, it should be withdrawn.

I should also explain what will happen if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting. This Committee will adjourn as soon as the Division bells are rung and will resume after 10 minutes.

On Question, Title postponed.

Clauses 1 to 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 [Separability of arbitration agreement]:

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie) moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 3, line 30, after ("agreement") insert ("(whether or not in writing)").

The noble and learned Lord said: Clause 7 codifies the law on the separability of the arbitration clause from the main contract or agreement. This is a small drafting amendment but it may be useful if I expand on it. As the text stands at the moment, it could be argued that the clause is operative only where the main agreement is in writing. This is because Clause 5 provides for agreements to be effective for the purpose of the part only if in writing. It was not our intention that Clause 7 should apply only where both the arbitration clause and the substantive part are in writing. To put matters beyond doubt the amendment makes clear that the clause applies whether or not the main agreement is in writing. Members of the Committee will wish to know that, as is the case with most amendments to which I shall speak this afternoon, this point is discussed in the report on the Bill which was very helpfully prepared earlier this month by the departmental advisory

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committee on arbitration law. It is to be found in paragraph 358. From looking around, it is clear that this document is well known to Members of the Committee.

Since this amendment raises this issue for the first time, it may be helpful if I say a few words about this report. In this case the committee has suggested amending the Bill and I am very happy to agree with this particular recommendation and a number of others. There will be other cases, however, where the committee has commented on some point of difficulty but has concluded that the Bill is clear as it stands. Given the close involvement of the committee in the preparation of the Bill, its views on such points clearly carry great weight. I have therefore arranged for a copy of the report to be placed in the Library of the House for those who have an interest in it.

In the short time available, we have not been able to deal with all the points in the committee's supplementary recommendations but I should be happy to clarify any other points. Simply because amendments which follow the recommendations do not appear at this stage on the Marshalled List, that should not be taken as an indication that they have been rejected by the Government. In some circumstances, the position is simply that there has been insufficient time for us either to undertake additional consultation or to reflect on how such amendments might be incorporated within the Bill. If necessary, we can return to these matters at a later stage. I hope that is helpful. I beg to move Amendment No. 1.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: Perhaps I may make a brief comment about the departmental advisory committee's report to which the noble and learned Lord the Minister has just referred. During the Second Reading debate, all noble Lords expressed great pleasure at the clarity of the drafting of the Bill and its underlying principles. As the least well-informed Member of this Committee, I pay tribute to the clarity of that report. I should imagine that should there be any ambiguity in the legislation, the status of the report would be entirely a matter for the courts to determine. However, I suppose that the report will be a very valuable guide to practitioners of all kinds, as well as to the courts. Therefore, I express my personal gratitude to the committee for the excellent work that it has done.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses, 8 to 15 agreed to.

Clause 16 [Procedure for appointment of arbitrators]:

4.15 p.m.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 7, line 3, leave out ("any") and insert ("a").

The noble and learned Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 2, perhaps I may also speak to Amendment No. 3. These are both small drafting amendments. As currently drafted, it could be argued that the arbitrators are to appoint an umpire only when they cannot agree on all matters. That is clearly not the

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intention. The amendments put this matter beyond doubt and are shorter. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 17 to 20 agreed to.

Clause 21 [Umpire]:

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 3:

Page 8, line 27, leave out ("any") and insert ("a").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 21, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 22 and 23 agreed to.

Clause 24 [Power of court to remove arbitrator]:

Lord Hacking had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 4:

Page 9, line 39, leave out from ("expenses") to end of line 40.

The noble Lord said: I wish to speak to Amendment No. 4, standing in my name on the Marshalled List and at the same time I want to address noble Lords on Amendment No. 6. I should like to associate myself with the words of the noble Lord, Lord Lester, on the quality of the report that has been prepared by the departmental advisory committee on arbitration law, chaired by Lord Justice Saville, and for the enormous assistance that Lord Justice Saville continues to give us on the Arbitration Bill.

Some assistance was given yesterday by Lord Justice Saville when informally he saw several noble Lords, including my noble friend the Minister. As a result of the explanation that Lord Justice Saville gave, I am happy not to move the amendment. I am addressing noble Lords now because I did have a concern, and continue to have some concern, over parts of the Bill that may have been overworked.

As for the particular extra phraseology in this clause, and in the clause to which Amendment No. 6 refers, I am wholly satisfied with the explanation; I am wholly satisfied that these words are needed. On that basis, unless any noble Lords wish to address the Committee, I shall not move Amendment No. 4.

[Amendment No. 4 not moved.]

Clause 24 agreed to.

Clause 25 [Resignation of arbitrator]:

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 10, line 5, leave out ("in writing").

The noble and learned Lord said: This amendment is a small but important drafting amendment. Noble Lords may recall that Clause 5 provides that the arbitration agreement and any other agreement between the parties are effective only if in writing. Therefore, throughout the Bill we have not repeated the words "in writing" wherever mention is made of an agreement. However, I regret to say that in this clause the words have crept in. They need to be removed in case a reader might come to the conclusion that, where the words are not included, there is no need for the agreement to be in writing. I beg to move.

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 6 not moved.]

Clause 25, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 26 to 28 agreed to.

Clause 29 [Immunity of arbitrator]:

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