HC Deb 08 March 1853 vol 124 cc1318-9

after presenting several petitions, complaining of the inconveniences of the present laws relating to the probate of wills, said, he would beg to move for leave to bring in a Bill to prevent the necessity of obtaining several probates of the same will, and several grants of administration in respect to the estate and effects of any deceased person, and other alterations in respect to the proof of wills. The Bill would be an exceedingly short one. It would make one probate sufficient, and it would also enact that the probate should be proof of the devise of a real estate as it was personal property. Inconvenient as the present system was in England, it was of trifling moment compared with what was the case in Scotland and Ireland. He begged to congratulate the House on the recent speech of the hon. and learned Solicitor General; but the matter he was introducing to their notice was of too pressing a character to be postponed until some general measure of law reform should be introduced. He had conferred with the hon. and learned Gentleman, and he had his sanction for saying that he would not oppose at least the introduction of the Bill.


seconded the Motion.


said, he recognised the importance of the proposed measure, as calculated to put an end to a system which cried aloud for amendment, and which no person could wish to see continued. He remembered a case in which, for one and the same instrument, it was necessary to have a probate in Canterbury, another in York, letters of administration from Scotland, and a certified copy of the will from the Colonies. It was perfectly clear that it was a monstrous state of the law which required such a multiplicity of documents when one probate would be ample. He thought, however, that this should form part of the great measure of reform to be introduced by the hon. and learned Solicitor General, and that the Government would be very ill-advised if they allowed the present Session to pass without achieving the reform which the hon. and learned Solicitor General had promised—a reform which, however surrounded with difficulties, was not impossible. He trusted that they would do their utmost to deal with this subject as a whole, and to place the testamentary law of this country upon such a footing as would be consonant with the wishes of the people, and consistent with the due administration of justice.


said, he should support the measure, and begged to express a hope that it would be extended to Scotland.

Leave given.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Hadfield, Mr. Cowan, and Mr. Brown.