I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 8:—
Before Section 55, page 26, a new section inserted as follows:—
55.—(1) The costs of an inquiry held by the board under this Part of this Act incurred by any party appearing at such inquiry shall be borne by that party, unless the board consider that justice requires that those costs or any part thereof should be paid by some other party appearing at such inquiry, in which event they may include a recommendation to that effect in their report to the Minister.
(2) Every recommendation made by the board under this section shall specify the amount (in this section referred to as the specified amount) of costs which they consider should be paid, and the party whom they consider entitled to such costs and the party whom they consider liable to pay the same.
(3) Whenever the board make a recommendation under this section, the Minister shall consider such recommendation, and may, if he so thinks fit, by order direct that such sum of costs (not exceeding the specified amount), as he thinks proper shall be paid to the party whom the board consider entitled to such costs by the party whom they consider liable to pay the same.
(4) A sum directed to be paid by order of the Minister under the next preceding sub-section of this section shall, in default of payment, be recoverable as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(5) For the purposes of this section, the costs of an inquiry include the fees, charges and expenses of and incidental to such inquiry.
This is an amendment to remedy a defect in drafting. Under Section 37 of the Act of 1931 the Mining Board were empowered to recommend whether costs should be awarded to parties to an inquiry held by the board. The intention was that the board should be given similar powers in this Bill. Unfortunately, however, Section 72, which empowers the board to award costs, extends only to costs arising under Part VII of the Bill. The introduction of this new section will remedy the defect and will make the powers of the board generally applicable.