All 1 Baroness Watkins of Tavistock contributions to the Arbitration Bill [HL] 2023-24

Read Bill Ministerial Extracts

Tue 19th Dec 2023
Arbitration Bill [HL]
Grand Committee

Second reading committee

Arbitration Bill [HL] Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Ministry of Justice

Arbitration Bill [HL]

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Excerpts
Second reading committee
Tuesday 19th December 2023

(6 months ago)

Grand Committee
Read Full debate Arbitration Bill [HL] 2023-24 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Hacking Portrait Lord Hacking (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I appreciate that, and I am not yet at 15 minutes, but there is nothing on the speakers’ list that stipulates a time of 15 minutes.

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Watkins of Tavistock) (CB)
- Hansard - -

If I could clarify, it is normally expected in a Second Reading that 15 to 20 minutes is the maximum. Obviously, sometimes there are exceptions, but particularly as the noble Lord asked at the beginning for any clarification, I thought that would be helpful.

Lord Hacking Portrait Lord Hacking (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, I am very aware that behind me, and in other parts of this Committee Room, there may well be those who are anxious about getting away for their Christmas. I will therefore be responsive to this interjection and bring the Committee to another very important crisis—one which leads directly to what I have said about the importance of an arbitration Bill. It should not only set the right relationship between arbitration and the courts but be promotional in nature.

The departmental committee was headed up first by Lord Mustill and then by Lord Steyn. They gave up the fight with the parliamentary draftsman who was, dear lady, a very pedantic one. She produced a Bill which was enormously complicated and quite unreadable. It included, most surprisingly—Mr Toby Landau would remember this—the writ of habeas corpus. We had a meeting about it in Queen Mary College, down the Mile End Road, and there was an uproar against it. I remember Jan Paulsson, a leading international arbitrator, making scathing comments. There was a skeleton hang-up and what we should therefore be grateful for, and what I would like to record, is that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, and Mr Toby Landau started all over again. That is the product we have now in the 1996 Act.

The important thing about what we are doing now is that this is a wholly readable Bill. It does not have a whole lot of parliamentary junk in it. It takes you all the way through each stage of the arbitration. What we should be doing now is to make quite sure that we follow in that line. I do have comments about the Bill itself, but I will leave those to another time.