HC Deb 11 July 1890 vol 346 cc1468-9

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, having regard to the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench in the case stated by the Magistrate at the Wandsworth Police Court, "Crane v. Lawrence," which was to the effect that margarine (which was not labelled) not exposed to the view of the purchaser was therefore not exposed for sale, and consequently it was not necessary that the same should be labelled as required by Section 6 of the Margarine Act, it is the intention of the Government to take steps to amend the Act, so that it shall express the meaning of the Legislature?


In the case referred to the purchaser at a retail shop asked to be served with margarine, and he was served with the article in a paper wrapper upon which was printed the word "Margarine" in all respects as required by the Statute. At the time of the purchase the margarine was placed on the counter behind a screen similar to those used in butter shops for the purpose of the butter, &c., being prepared for sale. The margarine when behind this screen was not open to the view of any of the customers, and in the case which came before the High Court it was desired to obtain a conviction because the margarine when not in the view of customers had not attached to it a label marked "Margarine." The Magistrate held that no offence had been committed, as a label upon the margarine when it could not be seen would be useless. The Queen's Bench Division held that the Magistrate was right. Mr. Justice A. L. Smith said— If the margarine is put in the shop for sale, and put in a place where it is visible to customers, then it is exposed for sale within the meaning of the Act and must be labelled, but unless it is thus exposed to view the Act does not apply. I see no reason for considering that this decision is not in accordance with what was the intention of the Legislature, or that it affords any ground for an amendment of the Act.