HC Deb 09 March 1854 vol 131 cc583-5

presented a petition from the Scottish Trade Protection Society, Edinburgh, praying the House to pass a law making it competent for the judgments of all the civil courts, whether in Scotland, England, or Ireland, to be endorsed by any judge having concurrent jurisdiction in those countries, respectively, and that execution thereupon issue in all respects as if the judgment had been pronounced and the warrant granted by the concurring court.


said, he would now beg to move— For leave to bring in a Bill to enable Execution to issue in any part of the United Kingdom under a Judgment obtained in any Court in England, Scotland, or Ireland, and to amend the Law as to the Service of Process in the United Kingdom. It was no small satisfaction to him to find that on this occasion he received the support of the Scottish Trade Protection Society, in Edinburgh. He would shortly state to the House what the law on the subject was at present, and what were the evils that flowed from it. If a plaintiff obtained a judgment in the common-law courts of England, Scotland, or Ireland, he could not obtain the benefit of that judgment in either of the two other countries without bringing an action upon the judgment and finding security for costs. He was thus put to expense and delay in obtaining that satisfaction which a court of law had already decided he was entitled to. The injustice of this had been partially admitted by an Act of George III., which gave immediate effect to a judgment obtained in the Court of Chancery for the payment of money equally in Ireland, England, and Scotland; and at a later period the same rule was adopted in the Winding-up Act. Twenty years ago, Judge Best, afterwards Lord Wynford, proposed to amend the law in respect to judgments obtained in the common-law courts, but, from some cause, the proposition was not adopted. Indeed, Lord Wynford wished to extend the principle to the case of defendants residing in foreign countries. Cases of hardship under the present law could be quoted without number. In one instance, a judgment for 30,000l. was obtained against a party in Ireland; the party came to England; the plaintiff then sued him in England, and again obtained judgment; but by that time the party had gone to France. The plaintiff then sued him in France, and also obtained judgment; but before he could execute it the debtor had gone to Vienna. Without multiplying instances, this was sufficient to show the evil of the existing law. The principle of the Bill he swished to introduce was, that a party who had obtained judgment for the payment of money, whether in a common-law court, or in a Court of Chancery, or in the Court of Session in Scotland, should be allowed to register an extract of that judgment in the other courts in the United Kingdom, certified by the seal of the court in which such judgment had been obtained; that such party should then be allowed to make an affidavit that the judgment so registered was still unsatisfied, and that the party against whom it had been obtained was residing within the jurisdiction of the court where the judgment had been registered. Upon this being done, he proposed that the judgment should have immediate effect within that jurisdiction as if the judgment had been obtained in such court in the first instance. He would further propose that there should be no power of disputing the judgment so registered, except in the original court in which the judgment was obtained. By a further provision of the Bill it was also proposed to enact that a plaintiff might sue his debtor either where, he was resident or where the cause of action arose. If the House should allow the Bill to be introduced, he should be perfectly ready, after the second reading, to have the Bill referred to a Select Committee upstairs.


seconded the Motion.


said, he most cordially approved the object of the Bill. It was, certainly, a step forward, and he hoped it would not be a final step in the direction of putting things in a much fairer state between the two countries. It was most unfortunately true that at present the two countries dealt with the judgments of each other as if they were the judgments of foreign courts. So far, therefore, as the execution of an English judgment in Scotland, or a Scotch judgment in England, was concerned, he most readily agreed with the proposition of his hon. and learned Friend. But with regard to his second proposition—namely, that of a plaintiff pursuing his debtor into a jurisdiction other than that in which the cause of action had arisen, he was not sure that his hon. and learned Friend would not find himself involved in some difficulty. However, he congratulated his hon. and learned Friend on having entered upon this subject, and so far as he could give him any assistance, he would most readily do so.


On the part of Ireland, I say—Ditto.


And on the part of England, I also say—Ditto.

Leave given.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Craufurd, Mr. Dunlop, and Mr. Napier.