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 Ponsonby of Shulbrede Excerpts
Friday 24th May 2024

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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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.

Lord Bellamy Portrait Lord Bellamy (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken and I particularly thank those who have been kind enough to express personal regards in remarks about me—to which I would respond only that no one operates individually and I have a wonderful team in my private office. I have magnificent officials in the Department of Justice. I have very strong ministerial colleagues both in this House and in the other place. We work as a team and it is that team that keeps us, as it were, in orbit and it is to them that one owes the warm thanks of this House.

The main point made by all noble Lords is to express unanimous disappointment, regret and frustration at the loss of the Arbitration Bill and the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill. I can only agree with those sentiments and express the profound hope for both those measures, particularly the Arbitration Bill, under the chairmanship of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, where so much work was done was done by the special committee, at Second Reading and elsewhere that it would be an enormous regret and a very serious black mark on our processes if all that had to be done again.

I very much hope that, whatever Government is in power, that Bill, in particular, is brought back as soon as possible and that we are not defeated or held up in any way by inflexible and archaic procedures. The same applies with equal force to the litigation funders Bill. With those brief comments, I commend the regulations.