HC Deb 10 August 1896 vol 44 cc456-7

(1.) This Act shall not apply to Scotland or Ireland.

(2.) This Act may be cited as the Vexatious Actions Act, 1896.

MR. DOUGLAS COGHILL (Stoke-on-Trent)

asked why this Bill was not extended to Ireland, if it were a good Bill?


said that no necessity for the Bill had arisen in Ireland. In England there had been three or four cases within the last ten years.


said it never entered into the mind of anyone to interfere until great people were attacked and put to inconvenience. Then the officers of the State stepped in at once to give protection. Poor men and women might be attacked until they were black in the face—[laughter]—and put to all kinds of expense, but nothing would be done.


said that these proceedings had during the last few years cost the public a considerable sum in respect of persons whom it was the duty of the public to protect.


said that the Lord Chancellor and officers like him were in no need of protection, because they were learned in the law and had plenty of money. [Laughter.] This was a piece of class legislation. In Ireland they had no desire for this Bill; and in England, if there were any abuse of process, the Judge would give relief. The House of Lords never initiated any Bill for the benefit of the common people.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.


moved a new clause (Duration of Act), providing that the Act should only remain in force till the end of 1907. This was an experimental Measure, and really it ought to be passed for only five years, but he would consent to a limit of ten years if the Government would consent to that.


said that the House would not be doing wisely in adopting such a time limit. It must be presumed that people were going to act reasonably. Action could only be taken on the motion of the Attorney General, and the Order was to be made by the High Court after hearing counsel. These precautions were sufficient.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 39; Noes, 141.—(Division List, No. 406.)

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.