Merchant Shipping Legislation (Consolidation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Shipping – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 1955.

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Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim 12:00 am, 16th November 1955

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will introduce legislation to consolidate the law relating to merchant shipping, having regard to the fact that the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, has been subsequently amended on no less than 40 occasions.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

In principle I am attracted by the idea of consolidation but the task would be heavy involving substantial expense and additional staff for which I can see no practical necessity at present.

Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that this is a classic example of the advantages of consolidating statutes, and that if over a period of 60 years there have been so many Amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act, it would be of the greatest assistance to ship owners, trade unions and others if they could find the law in a consolidated statute? Will my right hon. Friend reconsider his decision?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

As my hon. Friend, who is familiar with this subject, knows, many of the Measures which are in form amendments of the original Act are really additions to it and do not amend the substance of it. While, as I have said, I sympathise with my hon. Friend's desire to see consolidation, there are many other aspects of the law where the need is even more urgent.