HC Deb 28 June 1839 vol 48 cc1005-7
Lord Stanley

said, perhaps he might be allowed to call the attention of the House for a few minutes, to the proceedings to be adopted with regard to the numerous Small Debts Court Bills which had been introduced. The proceedings of all the committees on Small Debts Bills had been suspended till Monday next, with a view that, in the mean time, a full discussion on the subject should take place, in order to secure uniformity in those bills, by the adoption of some general regulations which would be applicable to all. He understood that the committee which had been appointed to consider whether a general measure could not be brought forward would sit on Monday, and he believed it was probable that that committee would, within a few days afterwards, make their report. It was, however, possible that it would be found impracticable to introduce a general measure founded on that report at so late a period in the Session; but even if such should be the case, he thought a course might be adopted, which would secure uniformity in bills for establishing courts for the recovery of small debts, and at the same time enable all parties anxious for such bills to proceed in the present Session. He would suggest, that when the committee had reported, the chairman, or some other member of the committee should take the trouble of extracting the leading principles relative to the constitution of the court, and other points of importance, on which they proposed to found a general measure; and if such a course were adopted, he thought it might be practicable to frame a general instruction, which would secure the great object of uniformity, and yet enable private parties to proceed with their bills. When that extract was made, he would propose, that the chairman of the general committee should move an instruction to all committees on local Small Debts Bills, to make provisions in those bills, in accordance with the general measure to be afterwards introduced. By the adoption of that course, a Parliamentary authority would be given to the proceedings of the different committees, and those committees would be enabled to proceed on an uniform principle, and all parties anxious for local bills, would be enabled to obtain them in the present Session, while all would be in accordance with the general measure to be afterwards introduced. He would suggest, therefore, that it might be wise to suspend the proceedings of committees on Small Debts Bills for a short time beyond Monday, and that an early day next week should be fixed upon, when after a short debate, the House, he was persuaded, would be enabled to frame some general instruction, which would allow all the small debts committees to proceed on one uniform plan.

Sir G. Grey

said, the general committee would certainly meet on Monday next, and would, in a very short time afterwards, make their report, as they had already agreed on the principle on which they proposed that a general measure should be founded.

Lord J. Russell

said, it seemed to him, that if the House were to decide on the general principle upon which Small Debt Bills ought to be framed, it would be better to introduce at once a general measure on the subject.

Mr. P. Thompson

said, that in order to allow sufficient time to ascertain what course the House might recommend, after the general committee had reported, he should move, that the proceedings of committees on Small Debts Bills be farther suspended for a week from Monday next.

Ordered accordingly.

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