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At stage 1, the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee received evidence of concerns that a corporate body that acts as a tribunal should not have Crown immunity and that, if the commission does not have Crown immunity, commissioners could individually be liable to legal action with respect to their decisions and an award of expenses could be made against the commission if its decision were appealed to and overturned by the Land Court.
At stage 2, the minister stated:
"the Crofters Commission is not a tribunal exercising a judicial function and it does not currently have Crown status of any kind."—[Official Report, Rural Affairs and Environment Committee, 2 June 2010; c 2742.]
She argued that the wording of the bill is intended to clarify the situation rather than to remove an existing power. That was the first time that that argument was put to us; it was not raised at stage 1 by the minister or by any witnesses. I have therefore lodged a probing amendment to enable the minister to develop her argument and perhaps refer to the existing legislation governing the Crofters Commission, which does not confer Crown immunity. If the minister can confirm on the record that Crown immunity has never been invoked in the case of the Crofters Commission, I will be happy not to press the amendment.
I move amendment 99.