§ Order for Second Reading read.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
moved the second reading of this. He said, that it introduced into the English system of procedure what was known in Scotland as the process of "summary diligence." It enabled the holder of a dishonoured bill or note to register protest in the Court of Common Pleas against any of the parties to the bill or note, and at the same time it empowered the party who had been served with any order for the payment to apply to the Court to stay execution upon sufficient cause shown; and then the liability would be decided in the ordinary course of law. This practice had been in operation in Scotland for a century and a half; it had worked admirably there, and had met with the support of the mercantile community.
§ MR. GLYN
said, that on the part of the mercantile community of this country, he begged to express his approbation of the general provisions of the measure. It was the commencement of the assimilation of 1353 the commercial law of the kingdom, but if that assimilation went on piecemeal, he feared considerable difficulty would be the result with respect to the law of the two countries.
§ MR. W. LOCKHART
said, the object of the Bill was to assimilate the law of England respecting dishonoured bills of exchange to the law of Scotland, but it appeared to open a door to vexatious proceedings. It applied to all bills of exchange, whether accepted or made payable in England or elsewhere, and it gave power to the Court of Common Pleas to enforce payment of them beyond the jurisdiction of the English Courts. It would seem that the holder of such a bill might drag the parties interested into the English Courts by simply placing it in the hands of an attorney in England, although it was drawn, accepted, and made payable in Scotland, and although all the parties were domiciled in that part of the kingdom.
§ MR. CAIRNS
said, the only objection he entertained to the Bill was, that, it did not go far enough, being only at present extended to England. He hoped the hon. and learned Attorney General would accede to its extension to Ireland.
§ MR. ATHERTON
said, he did not oppose the second reading of the Bill, though he thought several of its provisions required consideration, and he hoped that full opportunity would be given for discussing its provisions, because there could be no doubt that it introduced great changes into the existing law, and that it was moreover to some extent at variance with its principles. At the same time he knew that its provisions had worked admirably in Scotland for a considerable time, and that the mercantile body highly approved of their operations being extended to England.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY
said, he trusted that some provision would be made to restrict the facilities which were at present afforded for the commission of fraud with regard to bills of exchange.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he concurred in the opinion expressed, that the Bill should be extended to Ireland, and that protection from fraud should be afforded.
Bill read 2°.
§ The House adjourned at One o'clock till Monday next.