Clause 41

Part of Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 27 November 2007.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 11:45, 27 November 2007

I beg to move amendment No. 24, in clause 41, page 27, line 33, leave out ‘results’ and insert ‘objectives’.

I accept that the amendment might be described as an exercise in terminology and semantics. Arbitration has come up a number of times in our discussions and we now come to two clauses that set out how it will work in practice, as it relates to the duty to co-operate. When I first read clause 41(1), I was slightly taken aback. Arbitration is, by definition, a process by which a third party settles a dispute between two persons or organisations. The implication of the subsection, however, is that the Secretary of State can directly arbiter as to the outcome of an arbitration in which one party is the nominated undertaker.

As we know, the nominated undertaker could be an appointee of the Secretary of State and could even be the Secretary of State herself. I would like to give the Minister the benefit of the doubt and assume that that was not the intention in drafting the subsection. After all, we do not want the defendant to be able to tell the jury and the judge exactly what to do.

In my exercise in terminology, I suggest a wording that would remove the doubt. Replacing “results” with “objectives” would make it clear that the Secretary of State could have a say in what form the outcome of the arbitration should take, but not in what the decision was. I ask the Minister to consider those points. Perhaps he will look favourably on the amendment.