HC Deb 17 July 1888 vol 328 cc1516-7
MR. WHITLEY (Liverpool, Everton)

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether, having regard to the remarks of the Judges of the Court of Session in the recent cases of Bass and Co. against Laidlaw, and Henry Thomson and Co. against Robertson, it is legal for retailers, in response to a customer's demand for an article of a special brand or trade name, to supply an article as being of the particular brand or trade name asked for, although they never purchased, or had in their possession, the special article demanded; whether it is the law, as stated by one of these Judges in relation to this matter, that "in such a case everything ought to be presumed in favour of the dealer;" and, whether, if the law is as stated, the Government will take any steps to have it amended in such a way as will protect the public and the rights of the owners of the brands or trade names in Scotland, as has been done by recent legislation in England?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

I do not read the decisions in the cases referred to as implying any such principle as is set forth in the first paragraph of the Question. In both cases the Court distinctly held it to be matter of fact that the trader had not supplied the article as being of a particular brand or trade name asked for; and, therefore, no question of legal interpretation required to be decided. I take Lord M'Laren's statement, quoted in the second paragraph, to mean nothing more than this—that, as the case against the trader amounted to a charge of fraud, his accuser must prove his case absolutely, as a prosecutor must do in a case of crime. In answer to the last Question, I would point out to my hon. Friend that the Merchandize Marks Act, passed last year, applies to Scotland; and that, therefore, no legislation is necessary to assimilate the laws of the two countries.