Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments (2019 Hague Convention etc.) Regulations 2024 Debate

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Department: Ministry of Justice

Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments (2019 Hague Convention etc.) Regulations 2024

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Excerpts
Friday 24th May 2024

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sandhurst Portrait Lord Sandhurst (Con)
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My Lords, I too welcome this measure, but I want to take this opportunity to echo the very generous words of praise from my noble and learned friend Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. My noble and learned friend Lord Bellamy has been a tremendous Minister. He has worked absolutely tirelessly under great pressure and it is no fault of his that we are losing the Arbitration Bill, which really is important. I think it is important that this point is made and it is very important that whoever wins the election understands that this Bill is important for the City of London which, whatever one’s political views, brings enormous sums of money into this county and generates a lot of tax.

In the same breath, I am also very sorry that the litigation funders Bill, which I think was effectively uncontested—although it could probably do with a minor tweak—has also been lost. I very much hope that that is brought back and sent through quickly in the autumn. That Bill is also very important for the London legal market. I am not talking about small sums here and cases in the Competition Tribunal and so on could be taken elsewhere. It is really important that they stay in the United Kingdom and that we keep our top legal services.

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Portrait Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (LD)
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My Lords, I add the support of these Benches for everything that all noble Lords have said, particularly the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who led the special committee on the Arbitration Bill. I agree with him and other noble Lords about the Hague convention regulations, but I also express considerable concern about the loss of the Arbitration Bill and the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill.

With others, I pay tribute to the work of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Bellamy, generally, and to the noble Lord, Lord Roborough, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart of Dirleton. We had the three government Ministers involved in this House on a delegation yesterday to try to save those two Bills. We have not succeeded, which is a great shame. I hope that we can unite to bring some pressure on the powers that be to improve the wash-up procedure so that Bills of great importance to the British economy can be taken through during the wash-up where there is absolutely no controversy about them, as is the case with both these Bills. They both could have been dealt with last night and today before Prorogation and they have not been. That is going to cause a big delay and it is a great shame. I hope the delay will be kept as short as possible.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab)
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My Lords, we on our side support the statutory instrument and recognise and endorse everything the noble and learned Lord, Lord Bellamy, said regarding the importance of recognising the Hague convention and being one of the first adopters of the new convention and, as the noble and learned Lord explained, the ratification process and the importance of the UK maintaining its status as a world leader in its courts system.

I agree with what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, said, about the Arbitration Bill. I well remember the Second Reading debate in the Moses Room, where the Back Bench was replete with retired Supreme Court judges—which, as the only non-lawyer taking part in that debate, was a very instructive process for me.

Every noble Lord who has spoken has really made the same point about the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill and the Arbitration Bill. All I can say is that, from my side, I also did what I could to try to get these Bills to be recognised, but, as the Bills started in the Lords, that was a problem. I recognise what the noble Lord, Lord Marks, says about improving the wash-up procedure, because these are not politically contested Bills yet they are very important for UK plc. In the future, I will very much do what I can to make sure that my political party, whatever its position, will do everything it can to get these Bills on the statute book as quickly as possible.