Clause 7 - Approval of arbitration bodies

Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:45 am ar 9 Rhagfyr 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

The arbitration scheme will be delivered by independent arbitration bodies. The clause gives the Secretary of State the power to approve arbitration bodies for that purpose. Arbitration bodies will have to demonstrate that they are suitable before being approved. Further information on what constitutes “suitable” and how to become an approved body will be published on

The Secretary of State can also withdraw approval status if the body is no longer suitable to deliver arbitration services. The Secretary of State must notify the body if that is the case, and the body will have an opportunity to make representations. Under the clause, a list of approved arbitration bodies must be maintained and published by the Secretary of State, enabling parties to a dispute to know to whom an application for an arbitration may be made. The clause is therefore crucial to enable a high-quality, independent and accessible service to be delivered to landlords and tenants.

Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Shadow Minister (International Trade)

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mrs Murray. When the Government create a dispute resolution process, as the Bill does, it goes without saying that there needs to be arbitration bodies. We naturally support the clause—although we have a couple of amendments coming up—as it is inevitable and clear. However, I want to address a point in subsection (7), which states:

“The Secretary of State must maintain and publish a list of approved arbitration bodies.”

We hope that the list will be easily discoverable and regularly updated. On subsection (6), we hope that the Government will ensure that the process of removing arbitration bodies that are not up to scratch is done transparently and speedily. It is absolutely essential that both parties to arbitration—landlords and businesses—have confidence, that the process is fair, and that arbitrators are trusted and appropriately experienced. Although we seek Government reassurance on that, we will support clause 7.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London) 12:00, 9 Rhagfyr 2021

I reassure the hon. Lady that we want to ensure that everything is transparent and easy to find. People are hard pressed and have to contend with the survival of their businesses, so it is really important that we give them as much information as possible. Indeed, we want to ensure that, should we be required to remove any arbitration services from the list, we do so in an open and speedy way, not least because we want to get through the process as quickly as possible—there is no point in dragging it out—for the benefit of landlords and tenants.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 7 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.