HC Deb 23 July 1900 vol 86 cc975-9

Order for Second Reading read.

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


asked the Attorney General to give an explanation of the object of the Bill.


also asked for an explanation of the Bill, and particularly as to the method of procedure in the case of an accused person. He did not think it would be reasonable in a matter of this kind to proceed by way of contempt of court. Was he to be tried under the Summary Procedure Act? In that case the procedure would be cheap, and there would be an appeal on questions of law to the higher courts. On conviction he was liable to a fine of not exceeding £10. Supposing a man committed the offence more than once, why should it be a fine? If a man repeated an act of that kind, imprisonment without the option of a fine might be given. He objected to Bills being brought into the House at this period of the session, when they had not time to examine them.


said that he did not make a statement with regard to the object of the Bill in moving the Second Reading, because the measure was short and simple. The Bill was directed against the offence of sending out a summons for payment intending to convey the impression that the summons really proceeded from a county court. That was a serious offence which it was highly desirable to check summarily. Of course it was implied that the document sent emanated from an official of the court. The question of increasing the penalty for a repetition of the offence was a matter for discussion in Committee.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

asked if there were any statistics to show whether the offence prevailed in London or in any particular parts of the country.


I am not in a position to give any statistics on the subject, but I have reason to believe that the offence is not an uncommon one.


said that the object of the Bill was a good one: but it seemed to create a sort of summary criminal jurisdiction in the county court. If the county court process was imitated, that was a criminal offence which should be treated like any other criminal offence. He asked the Attorney General to give some information on that point.


said the nature of the offence was really contempt of court. The process would be by motion. [AN HON. MEMBER: Why not have a jury?] If the hon. Member wished an Amendment of that sort there would be no chance of the Bill becoming law. The offence was one which bore very hardly on the poor. There ought to be some way of checking an abuse which did not affect the more intelligent classes and those who were well to do. It affected only the poor and ignorant, and it was only they who could be taken in by tricks of this kind. It was for their protection that the Bill had been brought in.


said this was to be done by motion before the county court judge. That was a novel procedure. So far as he could understand, the Bill applied to Ireland, and he saw no ground why it should not. Perhaps the Attorney General for Ireland would be good enough to inform him how the motion was to be made? Were rules to

be made? Who was the aggrieved party to give notice? This Bill came to them from the House of Lords. He was filled with gratitude to that House for sending them a Bill for the protection of the poor man. There was the greatest anxiety for the poor on the Treasury benches. The Workmen's Compensation Act was to provide for the poor, and no lawyer was to come within a hundred miles of the poor. Yet that Act had been nothing but one for lawyers. The poor man was to be protected by this Bill. He respectfully said that a measure of this kind fell beneath contempt. If the Government could not engage themselves on better legislation they should dissolve.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 113: Noes, 11. (Division List No. 233.)

Anson, Sir William Reynell FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose- Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Flower, Ernest Murray, Charles, J. (Coventry)
Baillie, James E. B.(Inverness) Fry, Lewis Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r) Gedge, Sydney Newdigate, Francis Alexand'r
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W.(Leeds) Goddard, Daniel Ford Nicol, Donald Ninian
Banbury, Frederick George Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St. Geor's) Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)
Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-(Hunts) Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Bristol) Greville, Hon. Ronald Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. Curzon
Beckett, Ernest William Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Hardy, Laurence Purvis, Robert
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Haslett, Sir James Homer Rankin, Sir James
Billson, Alfred Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Rentoul, James Alexander
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter Richardson, Sir Thos (Hartlep'l)
Bond, Edward Hornby, Sir William Henry Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Horniman, Frederick, John Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson
Caldwell, James Howell, William Tudor Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Cavendish, V.C. W.(Derbysh.) Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Lawrence, Sir E. Durning(Corn- Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Simeon, Sir Barrington
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm). Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb' I' nd) Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r) Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Stanley, Hon Arthur (Ormskirk)
Channing, Francis Allston Lewis, John Herbert Stanley, Ed, Jas. (Somerset)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Start, Hon. Humphry Napier
Charrington, Spencer Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lough, Thomas Thornton, Percy M.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow Macartney, W. G. Ellison Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W. Macdona, John Cumming Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Cross, Herb. Sheph'd (Bolton) MacIver, David (Liverpool) Welby, Lt.-Cl.A. C. E.(Taunton)
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Maclure, Sir John William Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Curzon, Viscount Malcolm, Ian Wylie, Alexander
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Wyndham, George
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Melville, Beresford Valentine Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arey
Faber, George Denison Middlemore, John T. Young, Commnader (Berks, E.)
Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward More, Robert J. (Shropshire)
Finch, George H. Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Morrison, James A. (Wilts S.) Sir William Walrond and
Fisher, William Hayes Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford) Mr. Anstruther.
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Macaleese, Daniel Tanner, Charles Kearns
Clark, Dr. G. B. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Doogan, P. C. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hayden, John Patrick Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath) Mr. T. M. Healy and
Lambert, George Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.) Mr. Maurice Healy.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.