HC Deb 14 September 1893 vol 17 cc1261-3

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

MR. S. T. EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)

said, he understood the Government had agreed to allow Clause 22 to stand over.


said, that was so; the question would be dealt with at a later stage.


said, the object of this was, he presumed, to make the Bill a purely Consolidation Bill.


said, he could not commit himself to that. It was principally a Consolidation Bill.

MR. CLOUGH (Portsmouth)

said, he begged to move the following new clause:— (Protection of third parties.) Where the possession of goods is delivered by the owner to any person under an agreement for a sale, or for an intended sale, or under any agreement whereby a right or option is given to such person to purchase the goods, and such goods are thereafter sold or pledged by the person so in possession to any person who shall receive possession of the same in good faith, the owner shall not be entitled to recover the goods from the purchaser or pledgee by any process of law or otherwise. He proposed to add to the end of the clause the words— Except on payment by the owner of any amount which the purchaser or pledgee may have paid or advanced on the delivery of such goods to him. He offered in justification of his clause the statement the Attorney General had just made to the House—namely, that this was not simply a Codification Bill. To explain the clause, he would point out that a purchaser under a hire agreement might obtain goods—say, a watch, although it might be any article from a wedding ring to a piece of furniture—and being a person of limited means might desire to raise money on it. He took it to the pawnbroker. The hire trader insisted on the payment of the instalments when due, and a default in such payments having occurred he followed up the watch, and insisted on the purchaser either paying the instalment or returning the article. The purchaser had to declare that the article was not in his possession; then the pawnticket was demanded, and the hire trader went with it to the pawnbroker and insisted on the article pledged being given up. Here they had three parties to the transaction, the pawnbroker being the third. At present the pawnbroker, under such circumstances, was bound to deliver up the article pawned, and had no remedy against the person who had pawned it. He was deprived of his security, and his only remedy was to commence an action for fraud. This showed the necessity for the new clause. He maintained that the pawnbroker, under these circumstances, had a right to be protected by law, his having been a perfectly legitimate trading transaction. If the article was worth more than the third party had advanced on it, let the hire trader pay the money so advanced; but it was evidently most unjust that the person who had advanced money should be compelled to give up the article, and that the hire trader should get back the article, and enjoy the money already paid on it in the shape of instalments. The hire trader ought to bear the loss, his remedy being against the purchaser whom he had trusted with his goods. Many persons obtained goods under the hire system, and after paying one instalment pledged the goods which were afterwards claimed by the hire trader, who made the pawnbroker no restitution whatever. This mode of doing business opened the door to fraud. It was an inducement to persons without money or with small means to incur liabilities which they had no means of meeting. The clause covered not only pawnbrokers but auctioneers, and he held that the former class particularly, who were the poor man's brokers, had as much right to be protected as bankers who held bills of exchange.

Clause brought up, and read a first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."


hoped the Attorney General would accept the clause.


did not intend to oppose the clause, but thought it raised highly controversial matter. He thought it should be amended, so that an inequitable advantage could not be taken of the person owning the goods. But he was of opinion that the state of things contemplated by the clause was already, to some extent, met by the Factors' Act.


said, he could not accept the clause. With certain modifications, there was a good deal to be said in favour of it, but, on the other hand, it certainly raised most highly controversial matter. It raised the question of rights of property under the hire system, and as the Bill was substantially one for consolidation the proposal could not now be entertained. The matter, as had been already pointed out, was dealt with, to a certain extent, in the existing law, which was reproduced in Clause 25 of the Bill.

Question put, and negatived.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.