HC Deb 30 July 1858 vol 151 cc2302-3

said, he wished to ask the Solicitor General whether it is intended by Government to bring in a Bill next Session of Parliament to relieve Trustees and Executors from the present severe Laws affecting them, and to enlarge their powers for the better administration of their trust estates?


said, an opinion having been very generally expressed that the Act passed last Session for subjecting Trustees to criminal responsibility ought to have been accompanied with some provision for relieving them from their civil liability, a measure had been introduced by Lord St. Leonards, and passed by the House of Lords, for that purpose. When it came down to the Commons, however, many of its provisions were objected to, and it was ultimately referred to a Select Committee. That Committee, on considering the subject, found difficulties springing up at every step. On the one hand there was the danger of holding out to trustees an appearance of protection which would be after all only illusory, and on the other the danger of leading them to suppose that the duty they undertook was only nominal, and subject to no real responsibility. Under these circumstances, the Committee had not felt it right to recommend the Bill as it stood, and owing to the lateness of the Session, and the difficulty of getting a quorum, it was not likely that they would make their Report before the prorogation. With regard to the future, it would be wrong in him to make any definite promise, but he would do all he could to remove the objections to which his attention had been directed, and if he saw any means of accomplishing that object, he would bring in a Bill for the purpose early in the ensuing Session, hoping at the same time to have the assistance of the noble and learned Lord to whom he had just alluded.