Building Defects (Liability)

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1984.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman , Chipping Barnet 12:00 am, 3rd December 1984

asked the Attorney-General if he will report progress on the Lord Chancellor's Law Reform Committee's inquiry into the law of liability in relation to latent defects in buildings.

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

My noble and learned Friend announced in another place on 29 November that he had that day presented to Parliament the 24th report of the Law Reform Committee on latent damage.

Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman , Chipping Barnet

I welcome the publication of this long-awaited report and its recommendation that there should be a limited period for action relating to latent effects, which everyone thought was the case until recent court cases. Can my hon. and learned Friend give an assurance that consultation with the construction industry will take place speedily? Can he give us an idea whether amending legislation will be introduced in this Session of Parliament?

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

The Government will certainly give early consideration to the report. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor is considering it now. As my hon. Friend fairly recognised, there was the Pirelli case in 1983, which was decided in another place and which caused an immense stir. It has occasioned some protraction of the committee's proceedings. I cannot give the undertaking for which my hon. Friend asked, but the report will receive urgent consideration.

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Shadow Attorney General

Given the importance of law reform is the staffing of the various law reform committees adequate, and has this part of the Lord Chancellor's Department suffered from the Government's commitment to cut the size of the Civil Service?

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that the matters referred to the law reform committees are particularly difficult and need expert and unhurried consideration. I have no reason to suppose that staffing is less than adequate. It is a mistake to suppose that there is a deficiency just because some considerable time is taken in respect of individual inquiries.