HC Deb 02 August 1889 vol 339 cc230-1

As amended, considered.

* SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)

I should generally be very chary of proposing to alter any Bill which has gone through the Grand Committee; but, as a matter of fact, when the clause to which I take exception was under discussion in the Committee, several of those who were interested in the question happened to be absent, and the Committee was by no means full. I would ask the Committee to look at the clause. It says— When a mercantile agent is with the consent of the owner in possession of goods or documents of title to goods, any sale, pledge, or other disposition of the goods made by him should be valid. Now, surely, this is sufficient. But if the words "when acting in the customary course of his business as such agent" are retained, they will impose on the purchaser the additional obligation of proving that the sale or pledge is in the usual course of business as such agent, and throw an additional obligation on the purchaser or lender. I have consulted several mercantile Members of the House, and the hon. and learned Members for Inverness and Dumfries, both of whom think that these words ought to be omitted. I am sorry that they are not present. But it was not expected that the Bill would have come on so early. I believe that the words would open the door to endless litigation, and I hope the Attorney General will consent to omit or modify them.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, lines 5 and 6, to leave out the words "when acting in the customary course of his business as such agent."—(Sir John Lubbock.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."


The hon. Baronet brought this question before the Grand Committee, and I stated at the time that, so far as I could judge of such a technical matter, I thought the clause an exact representation of the law as it stands. I have consulted Lord Herschell and my learned Friend the hon. Member for Inverness. Perhaps the substitution of the words "when acting as a mercantile agent" will meet the views of the hon. Member. If he will withdraw his Amendment I will move to insert those words.


I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, and will accept his suggestion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 5, to omit the words "customary course of his business as such agent," in order to insert the words "ordinary course of business as a mercantile agent."—(Sir H. Webster.)

Amendment agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.