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Baroness Carnegy of Lour: Before the noble and learned Lord sits down, I listened with great interest to what he said. Through the years legislation relating to drugs has also appeared in criminal justice legislation; for example, with regard to penalties. It has been set out either in a Scottish Bill or in a Scottish clause in a United Kingdom Bill. Can the noble and learned Lord describe how a Scottish measure would be put to the Scottish parliament? Who would do that in the United Kingdom Parliament?

Lord Hardie: I beg the noble Baroness's pardon. I forgot to answer that question. A Home Office Minister, in consultation with other Ministers in the Scottish Office, would determine the policy as to whether there ought to be new legislation to deal with the matter. A United Kingdom Act would be introduced. The Scottish elements would be dealt with by the Scottish Office, as they are at the moment. The question of policing and the policy for the control of drugs would be a Scottish Office issue. The Secretary of State for Scotland would represent Scotland's interests in the United Kingdom Parliament in the event of such legislation coming forward.

The Earl of Balfour: I wish to raise one point. I am extremely grateful to the noble and learned Lord,

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Lord Hardie, for his explanation and I am very satisfied with it. However, something that was said by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, has concerned me for some time and I wonder whether I have managed to think of a possible answer. As I understand the position, when there was a Northern Ireland Parliament, Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom could not discuss matters that concerned Northern Ireland only. I know that there were complications in that regard. From what the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, said--I hope I did not misunderstand him--I feel that there should be provision within the legislation to the effect that United Kingdom Members of Parliament can discuss and vote on all reserved matters but that perhaps they should be restricted on devolved matters. I have had discussions with various people as to what MPs can and cannot do in respect of Scotland. I wonder whether that might be helpful. Will the noble and learned Lord consider what I have said?

Lord Hardie: I shall certainly consider it. Perhaps I may explain to the noble Earl my understanding of the position. In the context of reserved matters, there is no question that the United Kingdom Parliament could legislate. Furthermore, in terms of Clause 27(7) of the Bill, the United Kingdom Parliament could legislate about any devolved matter if it considered it appropriate to do so. As my noble friend Lord Sewel said on a previous occasion, that is the nature of devolution. The United Kingdom Parliament still has the overriding power in terms of Clause 27(7) to intervene and to legislate. But it is hoped and expected that the United Kingdom Parliament would exercise the same restraint which it did when dealing with the provisions relating to the Northern Ireland Parliament. There would be a self-discipline in place and it would be expected that the United Kingdom Parliament would not as a rule legislate on devolved matters. Those would be left to the Scottish parliament. If I am wrong or if I should have said more, I shall certainly write to the noble Earl.

5.30 p.m.

Lord Hughes: When I indicated that I was minded to agree with what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay of Drumadoon, had said, I attached a condition to it. I believe that my noble and learned friend has amply satisfied that condition. However, I did not like the reference in the latter part of his remarks to something which was perfectly true; namely, that the Westminster Parliament has the overriding power. I can think of nothing more damaging to the success of a devolved parliament, if the Scottish parliament ever embarked on a series of decisions on matters devolved to it, than if it were certain that the Westminster Parliament would override it. I do not expect that that is likely to happen, but if it did and on a number of occasions, I believe it would be a boost to the Scottish National Party.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: When I introduced these amendments I believe I made it clear that I was putting them forward as probing amendments to enable Members of the Committee to debate what I believe is

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an important issue. In my remarks at that stage I hope that I did not for a minute suggest that I did not accept there was some merit in the Government's position. I sought to explore whether the balance was quite right or whether there was some scope for giving the Scottish parliament some legislative competence in this area.

I am not sure that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate replied explicitly to the point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, and my noble friend Lord Selkirk of Douglas, about the Licensing (Amendment) (Scotland) Act and whether it was a possibility that the subject matter of that Act, which covers the use of premises where certain activities involving drugs are taking place, might fall within the subject matter of the 1971 Act. As the noble and learned Lord will be aware, there is a provision in that Act which can punish the occupiers of premises for activities taking place in them which the owner operates.

I noted that I was very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, for his kind remarks. I adhere to that notwithstanding the fact that his noble and learned friend has now persuaded him that the Government's argument is preferable to mine. I take the point he makes about the importance of referring to the right noble Lord. Certainly on these Benches we find it easier when both Front Bench spokesmen have the same name and we do not have a problem seeking to remember who is with us. Equally, we find it very important to make sure that each gets the right cheques, which for those of us in opposition is a more important matter than it used to be.

I fully accept that there is great force in what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate said. No one in this House would wish to put at risk the fight against organised crime when it involves dangerous drugs, whether that is done on a local, national or international basis. In advancing my arguments earlier and pointing out the different sentencing policies, I hope that I did not suggest that that in any way drove a coach and horses through the common approach set out in the 1971 Act.

Clearly, I shall not be pressing these amendments to a vote. But I ask that the Government take on board the example given by the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, so as to be absolutely certain that the way in which this reservation is framed will not preclude the Scottish parliament from enacting legislation dealing with the periphery of the drugs problem.

The example given by my noble friend Lady Carnegy of Lour, as to what would happen were a Bill to be brought forward to this Parliament amending the 1971 Act and how the Scottish dimension would be taken account of, is a very good one. I suspect that it is one that we might use next week when we discuss the role of the Advocate General in the promotion of legislation and taking it through both Houses of this Parliament. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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[Amendments Nos. 184A and 185 not moved.]

Lord Selkirk of Douglas moved Amendment No. 186:

Page 67, line 11, at end insert--
("Exceptions from reservation
Appointments of persons resident in Scotland to the Data Protection Tribunal.
The procedure of the Data Protection Tribunal so far as it relates to cases arising in Scotland.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment is grouped with other amendments on tribunals. It devolves appointments to, and the procedure of, the Data Protection Tribunal, established under the Data Protection Act 1984. The Law Society of Scotland is of the view that it is appropriate to devolve the appointments, structure and procedures of tribunals operating, or which can operate, in Scottish matters. This would enable a comprehensive and coherent civil justice strategy to be formulated by the Scottish executive and by the Scottish parliament.

Interestingly enough, just yesterday the Law Society brought together a number of bodies in a civil justice forum, including the Scottish Law Commission, Citizens' Advice (Scotland) and the Faculty of Advocates, among other professional bodies and organisations. This forum provided an ideal platform for those involved in the civil justice system to suggest improvements. But the forum, although an ideal way to exchange views, is not a substitute for a civil justice strategy.

I believe that it would make sense to devolve the Data Protection Tribunal's appointments and procedures. After all, it would sit only rarely, but when dealing with Scottish jurisdictional matters it should surely be subject to Scottish procedures. I believe that that would be of great assistance. So the principle is that the appointments of tribunals operating in Scotland should be under the first minister of Scotland and be subject to the scrutiny of the Scottish parliament.

That brings me to Amendment No. 188. It devolves appointments to, and the procedures of, the Immigration Appeal Tribunal, established under the Immigration Act 1971. Here again the Law Society of Scotland is of the view that it would be suitable to devolve both the appointments to this tribunal and its procedures, which are either operating or can operate within Scotland's jurisdiction. Again, it believes that this will help to ensure that the Scottish executive and the Scottish parliament will be able to formulate a comprehensive and consistent civil justice strategy. This tribunal, when it operates in Scotland, is under the control of the Lord Chancellor's court service. Therefore it represents what might be described as an outpost of the Lord Chancellor's domain in Scotland. Is there not a case for issues involving deportation for those who are prospective Scots to be decided in Scotland, and subject to the Scottish parliament? With a new devolved structure it seems unnecessary for the Lord Chancellor to keep such an outpost.

Amendment No. 191 devolves appointments and the procedures of the competition commission appeals tribunal to be established under the Competition Act

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when it finally passes into law. Here again, in order to establish a coherent civil justice strategy, the devolution of appointments and procedures should be brought within the domain of the Scottish parliament: that seems to make sense. But as the tribunal has still not been finally established, I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say on that subject.

Amendment No. 208 devolves the appointments and procedures of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. The various tribunals listed in the amendment would be transferred to appeal tribunals constituted under the Social Security Act 1998 when that Act comes into force. They are important tribunals dealing with many issues affecting the lives of people living in Scotland. It is important to devolve because large numbers of people make appeals to these tribunals, particularly to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. The annual report of the Council on Tribunals for 1996 confirms that more than 80,000 cases went before the tribunals or were intimated to them.

In 1996, some 25 tribunals which reported to the Scottish committee of the Council on Tribunals received 81,464 cases. To put that into perspective, the total number of cases brought in 1996 in the sheriff court was 195,000. The fact that over 80,000 cases were handled by the tribunals indicates their immense importance in Scotland.

Finally, Amendment No. 211 devolves the appointments and procedures of the industrial tribunals established under the Industrial Tribunals Act 1996. That Act consolidated enactments relating to industrial tribunals and the employment appeals tribunal. The industrial tribunals are of great significance and there are many applications before such tribunals in Scotland. Therefore, this should reasonably be a matter for the Scottish parliament. I hope that the Minister will look favourably on my proposals. I beg to move.

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