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Lord Simon of Highbury: I certainly recognise the general points made by my noble friend Lady Dean in relation to the pace of redevelopment in this marketplace and the fact that, not only we in this Chamber, but also the regulators will probably always be just behind the game rather than ahead of it.

I particularly recognise the anxieties that prompted the amendment. However, I can assure my noble friend that proposals are already in hand to extend the regulatory regime for conditional access services--a key point in the specific issue raised by my noble friend. The DTI and Oftel issued a joint consultation document in July of this year on this issue, and a new version of a draft standard telecommunications class licence has just been circulated for comment. That includes licence conditions to provide a similar regulatory framework for access control gateways to non-broadcast and non-television broadcast digital services, as already applies to broadcast digital television services. The process of consultation is already under way on that point.

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The amendment as drafted could be a significant widening of the scope of the concurrent functions of the director general in respect of prohibitions. That was a point made by my noble friend Lady Dean and was also perhaps behind the intervention the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone. I believe I have already argued that it would be wrong to pre-empt the outcome of the utilities review or indeed any sector specific consideration of the future of regulation by provisions in this Bill that would undermine the Director General of Telecommunications' functions as they now stand. By the same token it would be wrong to pre-empt the outcome of the review by provisions that could significantly widen the scope of his concurrent functions.

We took a great deal of advice from the director general in the consultation process. I note from that consultation process that the Director General of Telecommunications has, as the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, pointed out, argued that the scope of his concurrent functions under the Bill is narrower than the scope of his existing concurrent functions in relation to the Competition Act 1980. I am not convinced that any change is needed to the provisions of the Bill, but I would certainly be willing to reflect further on this matter as part of the consultation process.

In the light of my specific response on the conditional access position and the general wish not to prejudge at this stage the sector review, and in the light of the fact that we are in consultation with the director general, I hope that my noble friend will be willing to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde: I thank my noble friend for that response. I am aware of the consultation document which came out some months ago from Oftel. I am heartened by the Minister's assurance that he will reflect on the debate. This is a key part of what is a dynamic market. There are tremendous opportunities in this sector. It would be sad if the Competition Bill did not ensure competition in the sector. I shall willingly withdraw the amendment. However, I would ask the Minister to consider some of the points that have been put forward in the debate. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Skelmersdale): I understand that Amendments Nos. 212 to 218 are not to be moved. Therefore, unless any noble Lord objects, I declare them not moved.

[Amendments Nos. 212 to 218 not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 219 to 236 not moved.]

Lord Simon of Highbury moved Amendment No. 236A:


Page 76, line 6, leave out ("6") and insert ("1").

The noble Lord said: I have already spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

25 Nov 1997 : Column 931

[Amendments Nos. 237 to 239 not moved.]

Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 239A:


Page 77, line 45, at end insert--
("( ) In section 25 (orders for securing compliance), in subsection (5)--
(a) after paragraph (b), omit "or";
(b) after paragraph (c), insert "or
(d) that the steps which he is taking, or proposes to take, under the Competition Act 1998 will be more, or equally, effective to secure compliance with the relevant licence obligation.".").

The noble Lord said: This is another episode in the saga of concurrent powers, this time, the Committee will be relieved to know, not in the field of telecommunications but in the field of electricity. The point can be fairly simply put. Under Section 25 of the Electricity Act the DGES has an obligation to take enforcement action against a relevant company that is in breach of its licence conditions. The matter which is enforced against might also breach Part I or Part II of the Competition Bill, no doubt soon to become the Competition Act. The director general may take the view that the better way of dealing with the situation is to pursue the procedure under Part II of the Competition Bill rather than the procedure under Section 25 of the Electricity Act. However, except in very limited circumstances, he cannot do that because he is obliged to act under Section 25. That is the background against which my amendment must be assessed.

It is true that under Section 25 of the Electricity Act there are certain limited circumstances in which the director general can forgo his obligation to enforce. However, in my submission, those are too limited. Therefore, the amendment seeks to add a further heading (d). This is the formula that provides the option for the director general to choose which course he thinks is better pursued in the public interest. It states,


    "that the steps which he is taking, or proposes to take, under the Competition Act 1998 will be more, or equally, effective to secure compliance".

In fact, in the amendment I use the words "with the relevant licence obligation". However, if the Minister were prepared to accept the amendment, it might be better concluded with the expression "with the relevant condition or requirement".

This is a concrete example of the general proposition to which I alluded about half an hour ago when I intervened in the general debate on telecommunications. It is an extremely attractive way of dealing with the problem of concurrent powers because one can see it extended not just to telecommunications but to the operations of all the other regulators as well. To have to face both the procedures together is confusing not only for the regulator but for the regulated party. I beg to move.

Lord Simon of Highbury: The noble Lord has now arrived at what he announced a little earlier. I waited with great pleasure because I am now able to say that I am truly grateful to him for elucidating the earlier point and for putting down an amendment which seems to make an extremely valid point about the interaction between Section 25 of the Electricity Act and the enforcement of prohibitions. However, as he will be aware, the

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amendment was put down only yesterday. I should therefore like to reflect on the issue it raises and come back to the matter at Report. It is a valid point but we want to consider it more widely, as the noble Lord intimated. With that consideration in mind, perhaps he will be willing to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Kingsland: I am most grateful to the Minister for that response. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 240 not moved.]

Lord Simon of Highbury moved Amendment No. 240A:


Page 78, line 6, leave out ("6") and insert ("1").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 241 not moved.]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I beg to move that the House do now resume. I suggest that the Committee stage of this Bill be resumed not before half past eight.

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

House resumed.

Supreme Court (Offices) Bill

7.30 p.m.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. The office of Lord Chancellor, of which I am the 258th holder, is more than 1,000 years old. The office of Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor does not have quite as long a heredity. It has existed a mere 100 years or so, and the present incumbent is only the eighth holder.

Qualifications for the office of Permanent Secretary are prescribed by the Supreme Court Act 1981. Those provisions are unique for a Permanent Secretary post. They have the effect of barring from appointment any person who is neither a barrister nor solicitor of at least 10 years' standing, nor a civil servant with at least five years' experience in the Lord Chancellor's Department. The purpose of the Bill is to remove these restrictions so that future appointments may be made from as wide a field as possible from all the talents.

When the present restrictions were discussed on 5th February 1990, in Committee on the Courts and Legal Services Bill, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, described the Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor as "the permanent head" of an "immensely powerful department." The noble and learned Lord added, however, that,


    "a civil servant who has served at least five years in that department qualifies. I imagine that includes from the tea boy upwards".--[Official Report, 5/2/90; col. 631.]

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This change is necessary because the present restrictions limit unreasonably the field of candidates from which future appointments may be made. I doubt that there are tea boys as such in the Lord Chancellor's Department but the noble and learned Lord's point is well made in principle. There are over 1,000 members of the Government Legal Service, and many more members of the Lord Chancellor's Department, of whom hundreds are likely, formally, to fulfil one or both of the statutory criteria.

But the Lord Chancellor's Department itself has a staff of nearly 12,000, a budget of £2.25 billion and an estate of nearly 500 buildings. Its responsibilities are wide ranging. They include the administration of the entire court system of England and Wales; the legal aid budget; the appointment of judges and lay magistrates; and the reform and modernisation of the civil law. Also, the Lord Chancellor is responsible for the Public Record Office, the Land Registry and the Northern Ireland Court Service, whose combined staff total over 9,000. So the Lord Chancellor is ultimately responsible for 20,000 employees.

To lead this organisation, the Permanent Secretary must have the ability, experience and all the qualities required of the official head of a major department of state. Proven experience and ability in management of strategic policy development and implementation is obviously desirable; a successful track record of leadership and management at the head of a large organisation would be useful; and familiarity with, and perhaps, preferably, direct experience of, the processes of government at the highest level. There are at any time few who could qualify. But the additional requirements of 10 years' standing as a lawyer or five years' experience in the Lord Chancellor's Department reduces their number to a tiny handful.

Very few members of the Government Legal Service have the standing and experience to be contenders for this post. Nearly all of them have been exclusively occupied with pure legal work for the whole of their careers and have little or no management experience. In my own department the staggering fact is that there is only one official of the requisite experience who also meets the existing statutory criteria. I am advised that, over the whole senior Civil Service, only one other candidate has so far been identified who is similarly eligible for appointment. In years gone by, the existence of only one or two candidates might have sufficed. Successive Lord Chancellors have been served well by Permanent Secretaries, appointed subject to the existing restrictions. But nowadays it is held, rightly in my view, that a wider field of choice is necessary for so senior a post, so that there is sufficient competition to ensure that a really strong candidate is appointed.

It may turn out that the best candidate is a lawyer, who could come from the professions, or a person with five or more years' experience in the Lord Chancellor's Department. The statutory requirement that all candidates be one or the other, however, can only be justified if the duties of the post are such that they cannot properly be performed without one or other of the mandatory qualifications.

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The Lord Chancellor's office was originally very small, comprising only five officials, and the Permanent Secretary performed many legal duties. As long as this was so, it was justifiable that the Permanent Secretary should be required to be a lawyer. After the Courts Act 1971, however, the Lord Chancellor assumed overall responsibility for the administration of the court system as a whole, and the organisation was restructured as the Lord Chancellor's Department. The department has since developed increasingly along the lines of other major departments of state. Following on further changes in the last decade, it is now structured around an administrative and policy-making core receiving advice from a separately managed group of legally qualified civil servants headed by a legal adviser answering directly to the Permanent Secretary.

The old arrangement, under which a small number of legally qualified staff undertook all duties whether legal or administrative, has disappeared. Along with it has gone the historical reason for requiring the Permanent Secretary to be a lawyer. The Permanent Secretary is no longer responsible for providing legal advice to the Lord Chancellor. This was recognised in part by changes made by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 which allowed a non-lawyer with at least five years' experience in the department to be considered for the post.

The Lord Chancellor is at a critical cusp in the separation of powers between Parliament, government and the judiciary. He is the natural conduit for communications between the judiciary and the executive, so that each fully understands the legitimate objectives of the other. Under the previous government the public were disturbed that the separation of powers was not alive and well because the judiciary and the executive appeared to be at war. It is for the Lord Chancellor to ensure that the public can have continuous confidence that our system, based on the separation of powers, is working. I am referring of course in particular to the well-publicised unhappy relations between the former Home Secretary and the judiciary. That kind of thing will not happen under this Government. I believe that the higher judiciary would be the first to agree that since 2nd May strong co-operative arrangements have been in place which are working well in practice.

It is also a major duty of any Lord Chancellor to uphold the independence of the judiciary upon which the rule of law depends. It is the fact that Ministers' or governments' strongly held views, and their judgment of the interests of their departments, or of the interests of government, or of the public interest, can easily conflict with the judgments of the courts within the courts' independent sphere. That is why any Lord Chancellor, supported by a Permanent Secretary who must be fully conscious of these crucial values, is the guardian within government of judicial independence.

The Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor has a major role in maintaining contact between the Lord Chancellor and the judiciary. He must have a lively awareness of the unique, pivotal position of the Lord Chancellor and the importance of upholding judicial independence. The Permanent Secretary must fully comprehend legal, judicial and constitutional

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values, as well as those of government and Parliament. No person will be appointed to be my Permanent Secretary who does not have the fullest appreciation of these traditions and values. I firmly believe, however, that this breadth of appreciation is not limited to those with legal qualifications or who have served for five years in my department. No such rigid statutory restriction exists within the department serving the judiciary in Scotland.

This vacancy is being filled under the established procedure for open competition and selection on merit. In accordance with published practice for posts of this kind, I have approved the specification of the post and the qualities required of the successful candidate. The process will be presided over by the First Civil Service Commissioner who is entirely independent. I have no doubt that he would not place as a high order candidate for this position anyone who did not possess the qualities and values which I have specified. The process will proceed independently and will result in advice to the Prime Minister. I, as the responsible Minister, will be involved and, in the last resort, I could decline to accept the lead candidate. Without interfering with the independence of the appointments process, I am therefore able to ensure that my future Permanent Secretary will have the qualities and attributes that are so essential to this important post.

There is some concern that, if the Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor is not a lawyer or someone with extensive departmental experience, the Lord Chancellor and Permanent Secretary should continue to have the benefit of advice from a senior official or officials who have those qualifications. It was even suggested in another place that the Bill should be amended to introduce a statutory requirement that if the Permanent Secretary does not meet the existing statutory criteria, the Deputy Permanent Secretary should meet them.

I understand the proposal--and the thinking behind it--but it is not practicable. In the first place, there is no Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Lord Chancellor's Department. There has been no such position since the Lord Chancellor's office became a department following the Courts Act 1971. General deputies are generally regarded as contrary to modern management practice, and they are now very rare in government departments. A post of Deputy Permanent Secretary is particularly impracticable in departments of significant size and wide-ranging responsibilities, such as the Lord Chancellor's.

Also, to require any one post within the senior management structure to be held by a lawyer would put in place the very kind of shackle the Bill aims to remove. It would tie the hands of a future Permanent Secretary in seeking to appoint the best possible senior management team. It would also undermine the position of the Permanent Secretary. To require the Permanent Secretary to have a deputy who is a lawyer, simply because he himself is not a lawyer, will inevitably raise expectations that the Permanent Secretary would be second-guessed by his deputy.

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That is not to say that I would begin to disagree with the proposition that there should be available to the Lord Chancellor and Permanent Secretary a senior team in which long-standing legal and departmental experience feature strongly. At present, five group heads, including the Legal Adviser to the Lord Chancellor, answer directly to the Permanent Secretary, together with two agency chief executives. Five of these posts are presently held by qualified lawyers. Four are held by officials with lengthy experience within the department. I do not envisage any significant change in these arrangements under me or any other Lord Chancellor. I am completely confident that there will always be a strong legal element in the upper reaches of the Lord Chancellor's Department.

The Bill operates simply by removing from Schedule 2 to the Supreme Court Act 1981 the reference to the Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. This has the effect of removing from that office special provisions which are, by virtue of Sections 88 and 92 of the 1981 Act, applied to certain offices of the Supreme Court set out in Schedule 2. The provisions which are removed concern not only restrictions on appointment, but also tenure of office. The Bill will thus also bring the provisions governing the retirement age of the Lord Chancellor's Permanent Secretary into line with those applicable to other permanent secretaries.

Some concern was expressed in another place that this would result in the Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor having to retire at 60 when it might be in the interests of the Lord Chancellor and the department to benefit from his experience for a longer period. I can assure the House that in these circumstances it will be possible to arrange for the Permanent Secretary to remain in post for up to another year or two with the agreement of the Head of the Civil Service. It is right that there should be this degree of flexibility, as there is for all other permanent secretaries. There is nothing inherent in the post of Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor, however, which justifies its holder being given, by statute, a later retirement age than any other permanent secretary.

The Bill does not affect the office of Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor in any other way. The Permanent Secretary will continue to hold the office of Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. In that capacity he will continue to be the head of the permanent staff of the Crown Office, which supports the Lord Chancellor in his capacity as Keeper of the Great Seal. The duties of that office will be unchanged. The only change for that office is that its holder will no longer be required to be a lawyer or a civil servant with experience in the Lord Chancellor's Department. That requirement arose solely because the office was joined with that of Permanent Secretary in 1885.

Finally, your Lordships may ask why this Bill commenced its passage in another place when at first blush it would certainly have been more appropriate for me to bring it before your Lordships first. I would myself have preferred it to start here had that been practicable. The reason it did not was simply one of timing. The present Permanent Secretary, who has

25 Nov 1997 : Column 937

already been persuaded to remain in office longer than originally planned, is to retire next April. For his successor to be properly selected, the existing statutory restrictions must be removed by the end of the year. It was necessary, by convention, for the Bill to have passed through another place before a selection process seeking applications from a wider field of candidates could be commenced prior to the passage of the Bill. The same despatch is not required in your Lordships' House, and your Lordships will have a further opportunity to consider the Bill in Committee and on Report if appropriate. I commend the Bill to the House.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.--(The Lord Chancellor.)

7.48 p.m.

Lord Woolf: My Lords, this is a Bill of modest physical dimensions, but the considerable care with which my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor has introduced its Second Reading perhaps indicates that it contains a point of some significance.

I fully understand the desirability of having available the widest possible pool of suitable candidates for the post of Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor. There is no doubt that the modern Lord Chancellor's Department, with its increased functions and supporting a Lord Chancellor with greater responsibilities than any other Lord Chancellor in recent times, needs to have at its head a Permanent Secretary of the highest quality and experience. However, it must be remembered that the Lord Chancellor's constitutional position is unique. Nowhere in the world is there a similar office. Among his other roles, he is head of the judiciary as well as of his great department of state.

The relationships between the judiciary and the courts and government are extremely sensitive. The office of Lord Chancellor itself can be justified only if the distinction between the Lord Chancellor and other Ministers is meticulously observed. This distinction is at present supported by a statutory restriction on the person who can fulfil the role of Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor. The Bill proposes to remove that statutory distinction and bring into line the permanent secretary's appointment with that of other permanent secretaries to other departments. Until 1990 the Lord Chancellor's permanent secretary had to have a 10-year legal qualification which required that he should be able to act as an advocate in the higher courts.

In 1990 the restriction was amended so that a civil servant having served at least five years in the Lord Chancellor's Department could be appointed. That statutory restriction recognised the importance of the permanent secretary of the department either having experience of the court system which service in the department would give or having a right of audience for 10 years, which would also provide experience of the court system. It recognises the need for the Lord Chancellor to have the advice of a permanent secretary who has an acute awareness of the sensitive and pivotal position which the Lord Chancellor and his department occupy in the constitution. It underlines the Lord Chancellor's unique position.

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This Bill removes that restriction. By doing so, it will open up the field of candidates to follow in the distinguished footsteps of Sir Thomas Legg when he retires. I understand and accept the need for a successor of the highest calibre to be found. But removal of the restriction does not alter the fact that the position of permanent secretary to the Lord Chancellor is exceptional. In selecting the best possible person for this unique position, I believe that the desirability of that person having appropriate experience to enable him or her to advise the Lord Chancellor on matters affecting the relationship between the Executive and the judiciary is of great importance. I emphasise that this does not arise in relation to other permanent secretaries.

With time, a high-flying civil servant could certainly acquire the requisite experience. But it would be a disadvantage to have to acquire the experience in office rather than before taking up office. Bearing in mind the position of the Lord Chancellor as head of the judiciary, the judiciary have a real interest in who is to hold the office.

The permanent secretary is the permanent head of a department which, to use the words of the Lord Chancellor, is at the cusp of the department and its relationship with the judiciary. It is the responsibility of the holder of the office to tell the Lord Chancellor--discreetly of course--that he should remember which of his many hats he is wearing at any particular time. I am sure that in future there will be a safeguard if there is then the very close consultation that now takes place between the Lord Chancellor and the senior judiciary on all issues that can seriously affect the judiciary.

I have no doubt that the current Lord Chancellor appreciates the need for care to be taken in selecting the right person for this position. He is well aware that he is not only a minister of justice but also head of the judiciary. We are in agreement that appropriate experience will be an important factor to consider in deciding on Sir Thomas Legg's successor.

My concern is not with any appointment that is to be made through the appropriate procedures to which the Lord Chancellor has referred but with appointments in the future. Once this constitutional safeguard has been removed, it is most unlikely that it will ever be restored. To have a situation where a Lord Chancellor is without the benefit of an experienced permanent secretary with the necessary qualifications to give the appropriate advice can have serious implications for the sensitive relationship between the judiciary and the Executive.

I hope that a file will be opened in the Lord Chancellor's Department labelled "Appointment of the Permanent Secretary" and that it will have a non-removable cover that expresses the sentiments which the Lord Chancellor has recognised and which I have expressed about the importance of the constitutional position of the permanent secretary. I am opening a file in which the words that I have uttered today will be included, together with the views expressed by the Lord Chancellor. I hope that it will be passed to my successors in office and that they

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will take the interest in the appointment to this very high office of state that I believe all members of the judiciary should take.

7.55 p.m.

Lord Ackner: My Lords, I too should like to emphasise that the Lord Chancellor's Department is a very special department of state. It is headed by a Minister, the Lord Chancellor, with unique constitutional characteristics. He is in a very different position from Ministers who are responsible for services such as education and health matters--hence the special provision as to the qualifications of a permanent secretary.

In many common law countries the independence of the judicature is protected by a written constitution. In this country its independence depends upon a combination of rules and conventions and parliamentary practice backed by the force of public opinion and the important tradition that it is the duty of the Lord Chancellor to prevent any interference with that independence by members either of the legislature or the Executive.

Quite by chance, I came across a reference in The Times of 25th September 1963 to an address given to members of the West German Federal Court in Karlsruhe by Lord Dilhorne, then Lord Chancellor. He rebuked Mr. Harold Wilson, then Leader of the Opposition, for alleging that the British Government had improperly influenced the judiciary. He said:


    "In my country the judges are independent of the Executive and not subject to the influences of the Executive. If I were to be asked what I thought was the Lord Chancellor's chief job I should tell you without hesitation that it was to preserve the independence of the judiciary to make absolutely certain that judges of the land are completely independent and to protect them from every attempt, however indirect, to undermine that independence".

A similar note was struck by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, the pre-eminent Lord Chancellor of the post-war years, in a lecture given by him in 1989 when he observed:


    "The essential function of the Lord Chancellor in the working of the constitution remains the same. He is in the business of defending and preserving the independence and integrity of the judiciary. If he does it well then he is a good Lord Chancellor, whatever his other defects; if he does it ill, whatever his other qualities, he is not".

Thus it would appear that everyone supports judicial independence. It is, after all, the judges and the judges alone who stand between the power of the state and the freedom of the individual under the law. But does everyone support judicial independence? That very question was answered by my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham in the selfsame lecture in these terms:


    "Certainly not the public or the Back-Benchers in the House of Commons, who constantly revile, frequently from inconsistent standpoints, individual judges on particular decisions, or what they imagine to be judicial qualities, and daily demand that individual judges be directed or rebuked, presumably by the Executive Government, to move in this direction or that or even that they should be removed from office; certainly not the Opposition, whatever party happens to be on the Speaker's left; certainly not party conferences of any hue, and least of all, I assure you, individual members of the Cabinet whose departmental interests from time to time basically conflict not only with the view of the judiciary where they are entitled to differ but in the provision of the means necessary to enable the courts to discharge their functions."

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Those revealing observations give strong support to the reservations expressed by my noble and learned friend the Master of the Rolls, with whom I agree.

There are occasions when Homer himself nods, and that is why such particular care has to be taken. I remind your Lordships of a clause in the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Bill which came to be debated in this House in 1992. Under Clause 25 power was to be taken by the Lord Chancellor at his sole discretion to continue the senior judiciary in office beyond a new compulsory retirement age of 70 from year to year up t a period of five years, a system which has been described critically as "judges on contract". That proposal, which the Executive can so easily abuse to the detriment of the judges' independence, as has occurred in warmer climates, was emphatically rejected some 60 years ago by a Royal Commission, the Peel Commission, of which Sir Claud Schuster, later Lord Schuster, an outstanding Permanent Secretary in the Lord Chancellor's Department, was a member. Homer nodded. The Lord Chancellor and/or his department was apparently unaware of its existence and the views of the commission.

In the debate on the report my noble and learned friend Lord Simon expressed his astonishment "that this unconstitutional provision ever appeared in the Bill". The Lord Chancellor had second thoughts and ultimately withdrew the offending clause.

I hope that among the compulsory reading that a Sir Humphrey would wisely accept was essential if he arrived in my noble and learned friend's department at its very top without prior experience, will be this copy of today's Hansard.


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