During the Second Reading debate, reference was made to the bringing of arbitration proceedings in the High Court. It was pointed out that it may be convenient for certain parties to bring them in the Circuit Court. I understand the underlying intention of this measure is to relieve the existing courts of as much litigation as possible and to keep down the cost to the interested parties. Will this Bill prevent them from having the arbitration in the Circuit Court? There is specific reference in this section to the High Court. Would it not be better to leave it just "court"?
Arbitration Bill, 1954—Committee and Final Stages.
The function of the High Court in the Bill is simply to exercise a supervisory control over arbitrators in the same way as it exercises such control over courts of inferior jurisdiction. Proceedings in regard to arbitrations before the High Court would be few and far between and where taken would be taken on affidavit. To give the Circuit Court power would involve appeals to the High Court. In reality only questions of law will be involved where the High Court deals with arbitration. The Circuit Court is, however, being given the same powers as the High Court under Part IV of the Bill, but not, of course, in the Parts II, III and V where, as I have said, the High Court will simply exercise supervisory control.
I move the Government amendment as circulated this afternoon:
To delete sub-section (2) and to insert the following new sub-section:—
(2) Where an award directs any costs to be paid, then, unless the arbitrator or umpire, with the consent of the parties, taxes or settles the amount thereof—
(a) the costs shall be taxed and ascertained by a taxing master,
(b) the procedure to obtain taxation and the rules, regulations and scales of costs of the court relative to taxation and to the review thereof shall apply to the costs to be so taxed and ascertained as if the award were a judgment or order of the court.
This amendment is a drafting amendment. It is necessary to give the taxing masters specific statutory power to tax arbitration costs and to apply the rules and regulations of the High Court to such taxations. I am advised that the sub-section as it stands is defective.
Does this mean they will be taxed in accordance with the ordinary rules of court?
Yes. This is only a drafting amendment.
May I draw the attention of Senators to the fact that the amendment under consideration is not the one appearing on the yellow printed sheet but the one circulated this afternoon?
This amendment is to be found on the printed amendment paper.
This is purely a drafting amendment. The official statutory title under the 1926 Court Officers Act is "Taxing Master" and not "Taxing Master of the High Court".
The words "of the High Court" are being omitted?
This is the last amendment on the printed yellow sheet.
The purpose of the amendment is to give the Circuit Court the same powers as the High Court where a dispute before the court consists wholly or in part of matters of account. The Circuit Court has already the powers under the Circuit Court Rules to direct the county registrar to take accounts, but it is thought as well to provide for the matter by statute.