Clause 3. — (Short Title. Commencement and Extent.)

Orders of the Day — Fatal Accidents Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th May 1959.

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Amendment made: In page 2, line 25, leave out "Acts 1846 to 1908 "and insert: Act. 1846, the Fatal Accidents Act, 1864 ". —[Mr. John Hobson.]

Photo of Sir John Hobson Sir John Hobson , Warwick and Leamington

I beg to move, in page 2, line 26, at the end to insert: (2) References in this Act to the Fatal Accidents Act, 1846, are references thereto as amended by and read together with the Fatal Accidents Act, 1864.(3) The enactments specified in the Schedule to this Act are hereby repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that Schedule.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I think that this applies to the new Schedule. I do not know whether it would be convenient to discuss them together.

Photo of Sir John Hobson Sir John Hobson , Warwick and Leamington

It is more convenient to discuss the Amendment with the new Schedule, Mr. Speaker.

Subsection (2) of the Amendment is a drafting subsection. We have already discussed the point. It means that throughout the Bill we refer merely to the Fatal Accidents Act. 1846, and include by definition the Fatal Accidents Act, 1864. Subsection (3) deals with the repeals set out in the Schedule. They include the Fatal Accidents Act, 1846. The words "stepfather", "stepmother", "stepson "and "stepdaughter "are no longer necessary because of Clause 1 of the Bill, which has widened the extent and meaning of persons who are dependants.

As already explained, the new Clause makes the 1908 Act unnecessary. The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1934, was previously dealt with in Clause 1 (4) and it has been thought more convenient to include that amendment in the Schedule of repeals rather than have a special Clause dealing with the repeal. The Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act, 1948, deals with benefits under the National Insurance Act. It is no longer necessary to have provisions excluding benefits under the 1908 Act to be brought into account, because we have already done that this morning by definition of benefit in the new Clause. It is for these reasons that the various repeals are set out in the Schedule.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , City of York

I beg to move, in page 2, line 28, to leave out from "the "to the end of line 29 and to insert "commencement of this Act "

The purpose of the Amendment is simply to prevent the Bill having an undesirable retrospective operation. It operates at the moment from the date when it was introduced in November last year. The difficulty about that is that it creates a completely new liability in tort, in so far as it adds to the list of dependants on whose behalf an action can he brought or, as it may he, who can bring an action themselves. One would have thought that it was manifestly undesirable to introduce a new liability in tort with retrospective operation.

There is another difficulty. Owing to what we have been doing about excluding certain kinds of benefit from the computation of damages, we have been increasing the amount of damages, and it is perilous to do that retrospectively. In the first place, it discourages potential plaintiffs from settling their actions on the grounds that if they hang on long enough they will get a higher scale of damages, and it also has the unfortunate effect of distorting the possibility of defendants making appropriate calculations of what should be paid into court. All that represents a second reason for securing that this Bill operates only from the dale of its own commencement, as a matter of law, and that is what the Amendment does.

New Schedule.—(ENACTMENTS REPEALED.)
Session and ChapterShort TitleExtent of Repeal
9 & 10 Vict, c.93The Fatal Accidents Act, 1846In section five the words "and stepfather and stepmother" and "and stepson and stepdaughter".
8 Edw. 7, c. 7The Fatal Accidents (Damages) Act, 1908The whole Act
24 & 25 Geo. 5, c. 41The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1934Subsections (1) and (2) of section two.
11 & 12 Geo. 6, c. 41The Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act. 1948In section two in subsection (5), the words "under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1846, as amended by any subsequent enactment, or".
—[Mr. John Hobson.]

Brought up, and read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.