§ MR. HAZELL (Leicester)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to a decision of Mr. Commissioner Kerr in the City of London Court, on 3rd January last, in reference to the stamping of written orders for advertisements; whether, it appeared that the Commissioner objected to such an order being used as evidence because it had not been stamped with a sixpenny stamp, being a contract above the value of £5, and in consequence the plaintiff was non-suited 184 with costs; whether the Commissioner is correctly reported to have stated that the Inland Revenue Commissioners advised that all such contracts ought to be stamped, and that, in fact, a £10 penalty had been exacted from several suitors recently; whether he is aware that it is not the custom to stamp such orders; and, whether he can promote legislation exempting such orders irom stamp duty?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH,) Bristol, W.
My attention has been called to the case referred to. From the terms of the question it may be gathered that the plaintiff produced the order as evidence of a contract. That being so, it ought, on the plaintiff's own showing, to have been stamped as an "agreement," and under Section 14 of the Stamp Act, 1891, the Court could not admit it as evidence of a contract, except on payment of the Stamp Duty and the prescribed penalty. As regards legislation, none seems necessary. An order, quâ order, does not require a stamp; but if the order is given under such circumstances as to constitute it a memorandum of an agreement, or is relied upon as evidence of a contract, then it ought to be stamped as an agreement.