Amendment 19

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill - Committee (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 9 March 2021.

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton:

Moved by Lord Falconer of Thoroton

19: Clause 8, page 6, line 8, after “forces,” insert “except where it would be inequitable for an action in respect of a personal injury or death which could have occurred in the United Kingdom to be subject to a different time limit if it occurred overseas,”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment ensures that a court can disapply the civil longstop if the same equipment or cause of negligence results in injury or death in overseas operations as in the UK.

Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Attorney General

We move on to a different part of the Bill, which seeks to impose more rigorous time limits for bringing civil actions, whether in accordance with the ordinary law of tort or contract, or under the Human Rights Act. Although I am slightly oversimplifying, the Bill essentially seeks to impose a six-year unextendable deadline for bringing civil claims in respect of the conduct of the military, except where knowledge occurs after the six years, in which case there is a further 12-month extension. This is in contradistinction to the normal position whereby a claim would be brought not arising out of overseas operations where the court would have an ability to extend the time for bringing a claim if it were equitable to do so.

In these amendments, we focus on two particular circumstances. First, where a claim is being brought by someone within the military against, in effect, the Government for a breach of human rights or a tortious claim, we take the view that we should not be providing additional limitation hurdles in respect of military personnel bringing claims against the MoD—for example, for the negligent provision of defective equipment. I should be interested to hear why the Government think that there should be such a limitation. As a subgroup, primarily dealing with military personnel but able to deal with others also, if, in relation to an identical claim that had occurred in the UK, somebody could bring a claim and have the limitation period extended if it were equitable to do so, we cannot see any reason why in identical circumstances such a claim could not also be brought, even though the circumstances or damage arose in the course of overseas operations.

For example, if the Ministry of Defence provided defective equipment to a soldier and, as a result, the soldier suffered serious injury in an exercise on Salisbury Plain, why should a soldier who suffers precisely the same injury while on an overseas operation because of the negligent provision of defective equipment by the Ministry of Defence have a shorter and harsher limitation period than the soldier who was injured in precisely the same circumstances for precisely the same reasons in an exercise on Salisbury Plain? For example, they were both injured not necessarily because of the activities of enemy insurgents against them but because all the forms of transport provided were defective in a way that was the fault of the Ministry of Defence. The injury would have occurred whether one was driving along a road in Wiltshire or a road in Iraq or Afghanistan. It is unfair that there should be different limitations for precisely the same sorts of injury.

Two questions arise on this group of amendments. First, why should there be different limitation periods for the military bringing claims against the Ministry of Defence? Secondly and separately, even if there is a reason for that, why should there be a different limitation period for precisely the same injury, the only difference being that it was caused in the course of overseas operations rather than at home, for example? We are aware of the problems that have arisen in relation to many claims being brought—and many failing—arising out of overseas operations. We are all aware of those circumstances, but we are very concerned that, in trying to deal with that multiplicity of claims, the Government are unfairly depriving military personnel of their legitimate right to protect their rights against the Ministry of Defence.

It is very important that the limitation period be fair for claims by military personnel because, for a whole variety of reasons that those engaged in the military will be aware of, there may be very good reasons why a member of the military takes a long time to discover either that they could bring a claim or that they are in an emotional or mental position to bring a claim because of their experiences. We think these provisions are very detrimental and unfair to military personnel and require amendment. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Smith of Newnham Baroness Smith of Newnham Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence)

My Lords, at this time of the evening it would be very easy simply to agree with everything the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, has just said and be happy to move on, but that would do a disservice to our service men and women and veterans, because the points these amendments speak to and the words the noble and learned Lord has just uttered are extremely important. It is surely appropriate that we treat our service personnel and veterans with respect, and that they should not be disadvantaged because they have been service men and women.

Clearly, incidents and dangers can happen in the field of battle that will not be legislated for in a conventional civilian sense, but there might be other issues—hearing loss, for example—associated with having been in the Armed Forces which become clear only later. It seems very strange, as the noble and learned Lord has pointed out, that people should have different rights according to whether the problems arose while based in the UK or on overseas operations. Can the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, who appears to have taken over from the noble Baroness, Lady Goldie, say what work the Government have done in looking at the potential ramifications of this limitation?

This Bill has been put forward by the Government as something supposed to help our service men and women, but this limitation seems to limit their rights. I know the Minister will have been told that it is very important that cases are brought swiftly and issues are dealt with promptly, that it is in everybody’s interest to do so and that delaying things is in no one’s. But neither is curtailing people’s rights.

The Royal British Legion sent a briefing picking up in particular on the Armed Forces covenant, quoting the point:

“Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services … In accessing services, former members of the Armed Forces should expect the same level of support as any other citizen in society.”

Assuming that Her Majesty’s Government still support the Armed Forces covenant, can the Minister explain how the proposals in Part 2 of the Bill live up to its commitments? Can he tell us what additional thoughts the Government might be willing to have on looking again at this limitation?

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton, has withdrawn from the debate, so I call the noble Lord, Lord West of Spithead.

Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour

My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 29 in support of my noble friend Lord Tunnicliffe and the noble and gallant Lords, Lord Boyce and Lord Stirrup. The de facto six-year time limit for claims being brought against Ministers and the MoD arising from active service abroad seems at first sight far from protecting our people, but rather reducing the rights of individual service personnel. Those injured as a result of negligence during overseas operations, unlike in the UK, will have less protection under the law. Veterans and service charities, as was mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, are very worried and have been taking quite a lot of notice of this. The British Legion and other charities are very concerned.

To keep this short, it seems that the Bill seeks to protect the MoD from claims by our servicemen, rather than trying to look after them. Again, I am absolutely sure that that is not the intention, and this amendment tries to rectify that problem.

Photo of Lord Craig of Radley Lord Craig of Radley Crossbench

My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 29 and I support this important safeguard for service personnel. As has been mentioned, not all disabilities are immediately self-evident. Medical advances and associating clinical problems with mental or slowly developing illnesses are helping to explain and track the trigger to events not just in the recent past, but over periods measured in years, not months. Should a claim be considered, it should not be dismissed on some arbitrary timeline. Justice for service personnel, both serving and veterans, demands that their interests should be protected.

The changes made in the past decade, replacing the tried and tested Pensions Appeal Tribunal, which had its origins in 1919, with new arrangements, have been the cause of much anxiety at times. Indeed, I put down an annulment Motion to a major tribunal revamp in 2008 that sought to disband the Pensions Appeal Tribunal of England and Wales and move all its military pension and disability work into a civilian social entitlement chamber. This was widely condemned by those with experience of this type of work, by the Royal British Legion and other charities which help with the preparation and submission of such claims. My Motion was debated and, happily, the Government then agreed that the Pensions Appeal Tribunal work should be given its own separate chamber in the restructured tribunals.

So it is not only that claims by service personnel and veterans should not be arbitrarily time-limited: as important is that the tribunal arrangement in place to deal with claims is respected and trusted, as was the former Pensions Appeal Tribunal, with its long experience and proven track record in this field. I hope the Government will acknowledge the importance of that, as well as Amendment 29.

Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks Non-affiliated

My Lords, the scheme of this part of the legislation creates a long stop of six years, subject to date of knowledge provisions which provide for an additional one year. It also specifies certain additional factors to be taken into account under the provisions of Section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980.

Limitation law tends to be much more complex an area than one might first expect. In a sense, all limitation periods are inevitably arbitrary. The law has sometimes struggled to find ways of mitigating hard edges. I have had the privilege of being involved in a number of cases at appellate level about the law of limitation. The concept of a date of knowledge has proved quite challenging, even at that level. It might be worth reminding the House that the primary limitation period for personal injuries is three years, and for claims under the Human Rights Act it is one year. There is a six-year limit for claims under breach of contract—that is unlikely to arise in these circumstances. For cases of personal injuries or under the Human Rights Act, there can be extensions. For personal injuries, the date of knowledge can extend the period, and there is also discretion to disapply the limitation period. The discretion is unfettered, although there are certain matters identified in the 1980 Act which have to be taken into account.

Why, therefore, is there a long-stop in this Bill? It should be made clear that this is not the only area where there is a long-stop; different periods apply with different courses of action. The particular challenge, as I understand it, of overseas operations is that they come to an end and, when they do, evidence can disappear. Personnel leave the theatre; they go on to different activities, or to civilian life or retirement. If sometime later a claim is made by an individual, perhaps lacking any corroboration, it might be difficult to rebut. We all know of the many bogus claims there have been. Memories of events inevitably fade.

To be honest, I am not quite sure that many claims—or any claims—which would now be dismissed if this were the law would have succeeded. A late claim, absent a postponed date of knowledge, would probably not succeed because the courts do not exercise the discretion to disapply lightly. Many of the reasons for a long-stop would, in fact, be the very reasons that result in courts refusing to extend primary limitation periods. As with Part 1 of this Bill, we, as parliamentarians, need to respond appropriately to the vexatious litigation the military has had to put up with. This long-stop, on the face of it, seems a proportionate response. Amendment 19 does not seem to me to reflect the distinction between operations at home and those that take place overseas.

The other amendments are more difficult. They seek to carve out an exception for service personnel. I listened carefully to what noble Lords have said about the anxiety that this is causing in some quarters. I suspect that this was an unintended consequence and that really the protection of service personnel is the protection from them being in receipt of a knock on the door, many years later, being asked to give evidence or to respond to some possibly spurious claim in a theatre of war that has long since stopped functioning. That might be what really lies behind this, rather than denying service personnel normal rights under a limitation period. I should say that six years is quite a long time for a long-stop period to apply.

As for the date of knowledge provisions, they have now been explained by the courts to be sensitive to the fact that there will sometimes be delays—understandable delays—in bringing claims. For example, suppose a claimant were to contract a disease—say, mesothelioma, which was caused by exposure to asbestos. Many years later, there is no difficulty in recovering, because the individual would simply not know that they had in their body the potential to contract mesothelioma. Similarly, if there is some mental inhibition which prevents them being aware of the problem, that too is reflected in the way the law approaches date of knowledge. There have been a particular number of cases that have governed the position of people who had been abused in childhood and only later realised what had happened and the extent of the problems. The law does not treat understandable delay harshly. That would be the same whether the individual was in the military or not.

I am concerned that the military should feel in any way disadvantaged, because that would, of course, run contrary to the overriding philosophy that lies behind this Bill. For the moment, I look forward to being reassured by the noble and learned Lord; I welcome his late arrival to the Front Bench to respond to this debate.

Photo of Lord Boyce Lord Boyce Crossbench 9:30, 9 March 2021

My Lords, I speak to Amendment 29 and the subject of a six-year time limit being imposed by the Bill on those who have been engaged on overseas operations in their ability to bring any grievance against the MoD. This would have the perverse effect of limiting individual service personnel’s rights by restricting their access to legal remedies for harms caused by their employers, while it would not apply to their counterparts not engaged on overseas arrangements. Surely it must be beyond argument that such a situation should not be allowed, and I thus support Amendment 29.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, who is next on the list, has withdrawn, so I call the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup.

Photo of Lord Stirrup Lord Stirrup Crossbench

My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 29, to which I have attached my name. Its purpose is to ensure that service personnel are not debarred by time from pursuing claims against the Government for harm suffered on overseas operations. Of course, the purpose of the Bill is to provide reassurance to those very personnel that they will be to some degree protected against malicious proceedings, so it seems rather perverse that the Bill should also seek to prevent them gaining redress for harm that they themselves suffered. The Government have asserted that such an outcome is not their intention, and of course I accept that. However, the question is not the present Government’s intention but the potential consequences of the Bill as worded. It seems that one consequence might well be to deprive a number of serving personnel or veterans of their right to pursue a claim against the Government.

Part of the Government’s response to this concern is to stress the small numbers involved. They say that some 94% of service personnel and veterans who brought claims relating to events in Iraq and Afghanistan did so within six years. Are we then to assume that, had the proposed timescale been applied to them, the Government believe that it would have been acceptable for the other 6% to lose the opportunity to pursue their cases? The Government also say that the vast majority of cases relate to events in the UK, not to overseas operations. That may be so, but to argue that only a small number of service personnel would suffer injustice does not seem a respectable position for a Government to take at any time, let alone in a Bill that is supposed to provide support and reassurance to those people.

This timescale is very different from the one proposed in Part 1. The latter, as I observed earlier, does not introduce a significant legal watershed. Complaints can still be brought to prosecution, subject to certain tests that ought to be applied with or without the Bill. The time limit placed upon complaints brought by service personnel or veterans is of a very different character. It is not a high bar—it is an impassable wall. In support of this absolute limit the Government have prayed in aid statements from the courts about the need for limitation periods in civil litigation to ensure legal certainty and finality and to avoid the need to adjudicate on events so far past that memories and evidence become too unreliable. Of course I see the sense in that, but why six years? Upon what empirical data is such a time period based?

I listened very carefully to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, but since the expiry of the proposed time limit would have such dramatic legal consequences, there seems to be a powerful argument for a much longer period in this case. That which is proposed in the current Bill is too short, too disadvantageous to serving personnel and veterans, and should be reconsidered.

Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General

My Lords, like my noble friend Lady Smith and others, I am concerned that there should not be a different principle of limitation for service personnel for injuries received as the result of overseas operations as opposed to those injured while they are serving in the United Kingdom. However, I want to also speak up for the civilians in the country where the overseas operations took place.

I am not naive about this. I very much recall a court martial in Colchester, in 2005, for which a lady was brought from Iraq with a complaint that a British soldier had stripped her naked in the street and had caused her huge embarrassment. She went into the witness box, took the oath on the Koran and then turned to the judge and said, “Now I have taken the oath on the Koran, I have to tell the truth. I made it all up.” There were many complaints that were made up at that time.

At the time of the Baha Mousa trial, Mr Phil Shiner was wandering around trying to infiltrate our discussions, and he always had someone taking a note of the evidence as it emerged, which he subsequently misapplied. I am very glad that he was struck off by the Law Society.

That, however, should not prevent, in an appropriate case, a claim for damages going forward if it is equitable to do so. The noble Lord, Lord Faulks, expressed with considerable authority the complexity of this area of law and the difficulties that exist in any event—never mind in overseas operations.

There are valid claims. I put in a Written Question on 2 June last year. The Answer told me that, since 2003, there have been

“1,330 claims for damages relating to alleged misconduct … The claims … focus predominately on alleged unlawful detention but many incorporate allegations of mistreatment”.

The Ministry of Defence has paid out £32 million in respect of these allegations, and says that it does not pay out without consideration and finding the claim valid. It meets the bill, which does not fall on the soldier in question.

The practice of the court is not to extend to extend limitation periods easily, and that is a particular concern where valid claims are coming forward. When the court considers whether to extend the limitation period, it investigates all the circumstances. It is very difficult for a poor person in a foreign country to bring a case, and as the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, pointed out, it is not easy to extend the limitation period. Date of knowledge is frequently an issue. Sometimes it almost seems as if when a court hears an application for an extended limitation period it will be granted on the nod. But that is not the case: it is a difficult thing to argue. I am, therefore, in favour of these amendments, and I look forward to seeing how they appear on Report.

Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland

My Lords, I begin by addressing Amendment 29, which seeks to carve out claims from service personnel and veterans from the limitation longstops in the Bill. I have to be clear from the outset: such a carve-out would amount to an unjustifiable difference in treatment between different categories of claimants and would therefore be likely to be incompatible with the United Kingdom’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

A carve-out would also have very limited practical impact. The noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup, anticipated the statistic that I am about to quote. Analysis of previous claims has indicated that the vast majority of claims—around 94% of relevant claims brought by service personnel or veterans in connection with overseas operations—have been brought within six years, which is the period of the longstop.

In answer to the noble and gallant Lord, it must be the case that many of the remaining 6% will come under the state of knowledge provisions, whereby the period of limitation will commence at the point at which the individual has become aware of their condition. The noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, adverted to this in her submission when she spoke about hearing loss, a condition that might well become manifest outwith the period of six years from the point at which it had been incurred or commenced. The same might equally be said for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The purpose of the limitation longstops is not to stop service personnel from bringing claims but to stop large-scale and out-of-time litigation from being brought in relation to military actions on overseas operations. The current legal framework allows claims to be brought many years after the events in question, which puts our service personnel at the mercy of being called upon to provide evidence about historic events, with all the harm and anxiety that that risks causing them. I gratefully adopt the words of my noble friend Lord Faulks in relation to the longstop and to the fact that the harm that is envisaged may be caused to a member of the Armed Forces involved in operations who is approached much later after they have left theatre and retired, after a period of time has elapsed in the course of which they have hoped to put distressing matters behind him, or indeed her.

As well as reducing the threat of being called to give evidence of historical events many years in the past, these longstops will also help to reduce the likelihood of historic criminal investigations many years or decades after the event. This is because the longstops are likely to encourage civil claims to be brought sooner in future, and any associated criminal allegations will therefore also be investigated sooner. This reduces the risk of criminal investigations arising many decades later as a result of allegations made in civil claims.

I have mentioned that excluding claims from service personnel from these measures is likely to be incompatible with our obligations under the ECHR. That is because there would be an unjustifiable difference in treatment between different categories of claimants—for example, between service personnel and the Ministry of Defence civilian personnel who deploy alongside them on overseas operations. All the difficulties that arise from claims connected with overseas operations in relation to the availability of documentary evidence and accurate memories apply in the same way to claims from service personnel as they do to claims from other individuals. There is therefore no objective or functional reason why claims from service personnel and veterans should be excluded from the longstops.

Equally, I reassure the House that these measures do not break the Armed Forces covenant. Again, I have particular regard to the submission made by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham. The covenant was designed to ensure that service personnel and veterans do not face any disadvantage in their day-to-day lives when compared to civilians in the same position. The covenant thus ensures that all service personnel and veterans are treated in the same way as civilians in the same position. The longstops in Part 2 of the Bill apply equally to any claimants bringing claims connected with overseas operations against the Ministry of Defence, whether they are military personnel, civil servants, contractors or local nationals. There is therefore no disadvantage in being a member of the Armed Forces in relation to these measures because everyone who has deployed on an overseas operation is treated equally.

I echoed the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup, in his citation of the figure of 94% of service personnel claims connected with overseas operations being brought within six years. Those claims are also only a small subset of all claims made by service personnel against the Ministry of Defence. If claims are not connected to an overseas operation, as most claims are not, then they will not be impacted in any way by the measures in the Bill. I am therefore clear that the benefits of the limitation longstops to service personnel far outweigh any perceived disadvantages.

To make sure that as many service personnel as possible understand these measures in future, we will aim to ensure that the Armed Forces and the wider Armed Forces community are made aware of the new measures. In any event, any potential unfairness faced by service personnel as a result of the imposition of an absolute time limit is mitigated by those date of knowledge provisions to which we have made reference.

Carving their claims out of Part 2 of the Bill will therefore have little practical impact but would likely make these measures incompatible with our ECHR obligations. So, while the adverse impact on service personnel is considered to be very low, the benefits they will see from the reduced likelihood of being investigated or called to give evidence many years into the future are significant. I therefore recommend and urge that Amendment 29 be withdrawn.

I now move to Amendments 19, 46, 49, 51 and 53. These amendments would mean that, where an injury or death which occurs in connection with an overseas operation could have also occurred in the UK, a claim relating to that injury or death would not be caught by the limitation longstop applicable to personal injury and death claims brought in England and Wales. The example given by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, was injuries caused by a particular type of vehicle: why is it different in theatre from an accident with the same vehicle being driven down a road in Wiltshire?

However, I submit that the effect of these amendments is not clear. What is clear is that they would introduce unnecessary and undesirable complexity. For example, how will the courts assess what incidents could also reasonably have occurred in the UK? The answer is potentially limitless, meaning that the longstop would fail to operate as intended. It also seems that the burden of the amendments fails to take into account the specific characteristics of overseas operations, recognition of which informs this Bill throughout.

Part 2 of the Bill is trying to achieve greater certainty for service personnel who are deployed on overseas operations. In so doing, the Bill recognises that overseas operations are different from other types of deployment, including in the United Kingdom. The situation faced by service personnel on overseas operations where they are under attack or face the threat of attack or violent resistance is not comparable with being on exercise in the United Kingdom. This is why this Bill specifically covers overseas operations, and it would be disingenuous to compare the different environments that service personnel face in a hostile environment with those in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, the amendments might have very little practical effect on claims brought by service personnel and veterans. I have already made the point that the vast majority of service personnel and veterans bring relevant claims within six years from either the date of the incident or the date of knowledge. We believe that six years is a reasonable period of time for bringing a claim. In an answer to a submission made in the course of the debate, it is one which is in accord with provisions in domestic law and in the law of other nations. The benefits of these amendments would be limited, but they would add an unnecessary and undesirable layer of complexity and the courts would be obliged to contend with that. They would thus be at odds with the principle of greater legal clarity which the Bill seeks to introduce.

On the subject of time limits and particularly in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, the courts are of course sensitive to pleas of state of knowledge. Again, I respectfully echo the submission of my noble friend Lord Faulks on that matter. So, while thanking all noble Lords who have contributed to this debate, I recommend that these amendments are not taken forward.

Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Attorney General 9:45, 9 March 2021

I am very grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, my noble friend Lord West of Spithead, the noble and gallant Lords, Lord Craig of Radley, Lord Stirrup and Lord Boyce, and the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, all of whom supported this amendment. I am also struck by the fact that I am supported much more by the military than I am by the lawyers on this amendment, which suggests that it must be right.

I also thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart of Dirleton, for his detailed reply. In relation to carving out the military claims against the Ministry of Defence, as proposed in Amendment 29, I understood his answer to be that it is discriminatory. I find that hard to believe because the effect of the Bill is to treat soldiers on overseas operations as different from other soldiers. Therefore, it is simply a question of judgment as to which sub-category is acceptable and which is not. He then said that the other reason for resisting it was because it would not affect very many people. That is not much of an answer—do the right thing; do not deprive people of a claim that they would otherwise have.

Ultimately—and this is no criticism of the Minister—his answers were unconvincing because the purpose of this part of the Bill is not to stop military personnel bringing claims; it is to stop claims, of the sort identified by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, brought by non-military personnel. Whether one thinks that that is right or wrong, it is clear that the Government did not intend this effect on military personnel. They should be consistent in the way they deal with it and reassure military personnel by getting rid of this distinction.

Amendment 19 and the ones associated with it would provide that if the same thing were to happen on Salisbury Plain, soldiers should have a claim, whether it was brought in relation to overseas operations or not. There is absolutely no reason that that should not be given effect to. The alleged suggestion that it might be difficult to work out, with no examples given, was—with respect—rather unconvincing. Of course I will withdraw my amendment, but I think I will return to this on Report.

Amendment 19 withdrawn.

Clause 8 agreed.

Clauses 9 and 10 agreed.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, finally, we come to Amendment 20. Anyone wishing to press this to a Division must make that clear in the debate.

Clause 11: Court’s discretion to extend time in certain Human Rights Act proceedings