I beg to move Amendrient No. 8, in page 8, line 8, to leave cut '29th August, 1967' and to insert '1st January, 1968'.
This Amendment need not take long. Its purpose is simply to postpone the date of operation of the Bill. The Bill took slightly longer in Committee than we anticipated, and it is not now thought that a date of operation as early as 29th August would allow the courts or practitioners time enough to absorb its changes. Many practitioners rely on the special supplement to Archibold, and it quite clearly would not be possible to produce that in time.
It has, therefore, been thought desirable to defer the date to such time as there is a minimum of current business, and we thought that 1st January, 1968 would be suitable.
I fully understand the reason for this Amendment, and it is a good reason. Practitioners will have quite a lot to absorb, and it is very right that they should have the opportunity to do so. I want to express one hope. We had a discussion in Committee on subsections (4) and (7) of Clause 4, and the link with this Amendment is that that Clause might be overtaken by the Theft Bill. One would then have, first of all, the change in the law made by Clause 4(7) and then another change made by the Theft Bill.
I hope that this extension of time may enable us to have just the one change; that if the Theft Bill comes in before then it will result in just one change, and we can then move straight from the unsatisfactory state of the law now to the law as it will finally be. That may be an advantage that will be secured by this postponement of the date.
Although we hope to introduce the Theft Bill at a fairly early stage, it is doubtful whether it will be law in time to enable the course the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests to be adopted.