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Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: My Lords, I support the amendments and will not be moving Amendment No. 73 which is in terms similar to Amendment No. 74. Amendments Nos. 72 and 75 were discussed previously. It may well be that as much as can be said about them has been said. However, I recollect that Amendment No. 74 arose out of the comment made in Committee and it would be helpful if the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate could give the Government's response to it.

Lord Hardie: My Lords, as regards Amendments Nos. 72 and 75, the White Paper specifically referred to the Government's intention to reserve the regulation of estate agents and their work. It is presently regulated on a UK-wide basis under the 1979 Act and the Director General of Fair Trading has the duty of enforcing the provisions of that Act. It is in the interests of consumers that the provisions of the Act apply in the same way on both sides of the Border. I believe that the noble Lord is under some misapprehension. Where a solicitor is acting as an estate agent he or she will still be regulated by United Kingdom legislation and subject to the Director General of Fair Trading. Therefore, there will be uniform regulation across the United Kingdom.

Turning to Amendment No. 74, the position is different in England and Wales as regards notaries public. In Scotland all notaries public are solicitors so there is no need for a separate reference. As regards the EC establishment directive, member states are required

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to give effect to it by 14th March 2000. When it is in place, the directive will give European lawyers the right to practise in Scotland and to integrate into the legal profession here. They will be subject to the same rules of professional conduct and disciplinary proceedings as Scottish solicitors and advocates. Any provision made by the Scottish parliament by virtue of this exception should therefore apply to such foreign lawyers when practising as a solicitor or advocate in Scotland.

As regards multi-disciplinary partnership practices, although the primary legislation prohibiting MDPs was removed by the 1990 Act, the Solicitors (Scotland) Practice Rules 1991 and the Solicitors (Scotland) (Multi-Disciplinary Practices) Practice Rules 1991 prohibit such arrangements. It may well be that if such arrangements are eventually permitted, it will be on the basis of anyone participating in such a practice will be subject to the relevant rules of the legal profession. However, if such arrangements are allowed and should it be thought in that event that the current definition is too narrow, that is a matter which could be addressed by a Clause 30 order.

As regards multinational practices within the definition of the legal profession for the purposes of this exception, as noble Lords will be aware, although it has never been commenced, Section 32 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 provides for the establishment of multinational practices between Scottish solicitors and registered foreign lawyers. Again, as I have already said in the context of multi-disciplinary practices, it may well be that if such arrangements are eventually permitted, it will be on the basis that anyone who participates will be subject to the relevant rules of the legal profession. If the current definition in this exception is too narrow, again a Clause 30 order could be made to rectify that. For the reasons given I invite the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Selkirk of Douglas: My Lords, in the light of what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate has said, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 73 to 75 not moved.]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 76:

Page 82, line 9, at end insert--

("Section 16 -- Forestry

The Forestry Commission.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, largely due to an oversight on my part the issue of forestry was not debated in Committee. The amendment moved in my name at Report stage was withdrawn for other reasons. At this time of night I do not want to pursue the matter other than to say that it is an important one. Many of us interested in forestry are puzzled as to how the Forestry Commission will operate. I do not believe that there are any other forestry experts in your Lordships' House at this time of night. I shall be content with an assurance

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from the Minister that he will write to me to say how he sees the Forestry Commission operating in its new devolved form and yet still carrying on as one body, as a UK Forestry Commission structure. Perhaps he would put his reply in the Library so that noble Lords who are also interested in forestry will have a chance to see what the noble Lord has to say, as the current UK forestry Minister, about the way in which the Forestry Commission is to be split up and yet carry on as one body. I could make a long speech, but at this time of night what I have said may be a good start. I beg to move.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: My Lords, I am not a forestry expert despite having grown and cut down trees and done a number of other things like that. It is absolute nonsense to believe that forestry concerns could not be dealt with by a Scottish parliament. I know that there will be co-ordination difficulties, but they can be overcome. Certainly it should not be a reserved subject.

Lord Renton: My Lords, I am not a forestry expert, but I have a family interest to disclose as regards a property that I turned into a discretionary trust. It is very important that we have clarity in this matter. The Forestry Commission has acted on a United Kingdom basis and it has been financed by the United Kingdom.

It has been extremely active in south-west Scotland. In that part of the United Kingdom it has covered more acres than anywhere else. In some ways they seem a little remote at times, and at other times it is convenient to be able to get in touch with the local manager. However, we have to look at the subject from a national point of view. From that point of view, it is better that the matter should be reserved for the United Kingdom.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, I should like to agree with my noble friend Lord Renton. If the Minister is to write to my noble friend on the Front Bench and also put a copy in the Library, perhaps he could send copies to those of us who have joined in the debate tonight. How the Forestry Commission is to operate is a matter of great importance. It is a huge industry. It matters enormously to Scotland and to the rest of the United Kingdom. We are very concerned about the mechanics.

Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, perhaps I may ask my noble friend, while he is taking account of the argument advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Mackie, whether he will bear in mind that a few years ago I recall being reprimanded in the House of Commons when I asked questions about English forestry of the Scottish Secretary of State. I had to point out to Mr. Speaker that it was the only way in which an English Member of Parliament could pursue English forestry questions. I have every faith that the arrangement which emerges will be splendid, but I hope that in that arrangement there will be adequate opportunity, both in this House and in the other place, for English Members to ask questions about English forestry.

Lord Sanderson of Bowden: My Lords, having been a forestry Minister, I have some sympathy with the

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Government on this point. I believe that there is a way through so that the Scottish trees can be administered by the Scottish parliament. That does not mean to say that the difficulties of the Forestry Commission are overcome, but perhaps the noble Lord would be kind enough to let us know how it will work and then I shall be a lot wiser than I am at the moment.

Lord Sewel: My Lords, I shall be more than happy to write to all noble Lords who have spoken in the debate, outlining the way in which we see the Forestry Commission working. I shall not make a long speech this evening. Basically, the matter can be summed up fairly simply. Forestry is a devolved function. Legislative competence devolves to the Scottish parliament. The Forestry Commission is seen as continuing as a cross-Border GB body and not a UK body. That will mean that the Forestry Commission will deliver forestry policy set by the Scottish parliament and the Scottish executive. Effectively, the Forestry Commission will prepare and work to a Scottish corporate plan and Scottish Ministers will be able to give direction to the Forestry Commission for forestry in Scotland.

In essence, forestry in England, Scotland and Wales will have the opportunity to be developed and delivered in a way which will perhaps be more sensitive to the priorities in the three countries. I should imagine, for example, that in Scotland commercial forestry would be of greater salience than perhaps will be the case throughout most of England. We are going down this road in order to recognise the diversity involved in forestry policy and bring it closer to the priorities of the constituent countries.

Lord Selkirk of Douglas: My Lords, will the Minister cover in his letter whether the headquarters of the Forestry Commission will remain in Scotland?

Lord Sewel: My Lords, I do not know whether I can cover that in my letter. That is something that at any stage can be decided one way or the other. It is not something that is fixed for all time.

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