HC Deb 25 November 1914 vol 68 cc1217-9

  1. (1) No transfer made after the eighteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and fourteen, by or on behalf of an enemy of any securities shall confer on the transferee any rights or remedies in respect thereof, and no company or municipal authority or other body by whom the securities were issued or are managed shall take any cognizance of or otherwise act upon any notice of such transfer.
  2. (2) No entry shall, during the continuance of the present War, be made in any register or branch register or other book kept in the United Kingdom of any transfer of any securities therein registered, inscribed or standing in the name of an enemy, except by leave of a Court of competent jurisdiction.
  3. (3) No share warrants payable to bearer shall be issued during the continuance of the present War in respect of any shares or stock registered in the name of any enemy.
  4. (4) If any company or any body contravenes the provisions of this Section the company or body shall be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Act to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds, and every director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company or body who is knowingly a party to the default, shall be liable on the like conviction to a like fine or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months.
  5. (5) For the purposes of this Section the expression "securities" includes any annuities, stock, shares, debentures, or debenture stock issued by or on behalf of the Government or by any municipal or other authority, or by any company or by any other body.


I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words from "No" ["No transfer"] to "and" ["thereof, and no company"], and to insert instead thereof the words: "person shall by virtue of any transfer of any securities made by or on behalf of an enemy have any rights or remedies in respect thereto unless he proves that the transfer was made with the leave of the Board of Trade, or was made before the commencement of the present war, and"

The hon. Member for Cambridge University was good enough to point out a difficulty in making this provision in the Bill. There is a difficulty there, and I doubt very much whether we can usefully discuss it until we see these Amendments in print. Meantime, I quite understand the point which he makes and the illustration which he gives. There may be matter for consideration whether there is anything that can be done to ease the difficulty, but I am bound to say that I rather doubt it.

Question put, and agreed to.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "shall" ["shall confer"], to insert the words "except as hereinafter appears."

This is a small drafting Amendment, though it is not quite so trivial as might appear. As I read Sub-sections (1) and (2), it seems to me that they may involve a slight contradiction which was perhaps due to an oversight in drafting, because Sub-section (1) provides that no transfer of shares is to be made, and if it is made the company is to take no cognisance of it or act upon it. The chief way in which a company can act on a transfer is to enter it in their register. Then Sub-section (2) says that no entry shall be made except with the leave of the judge of the High Court. So that the second Clause gives power to a judge of the High Court to give leave for that which the first Sub-section says cannot be done.


I will accept the Amendment.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Further Amendments made: At the end of Sub-section (1) add the words Provided that this Sub-section shall not apply where the transferee or some subsequent transferee proves that the transfer or some subsequent transfer was made before the nineteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and fourteen, in good faith and for valuable consideration."—[Sir J. Simon.]

At the end of Sub-section (2), add the words "or of the Board of Trade."—[Sir J. Simon.]


I beg to move, in Sub-section (5), after the word "stock," to insert the words "mortgage or charge."

I would like to insert the words "mortgage or charge," but if the Attorney-General objects I will not press it. I do not see why debenture stock is included and mortgage or charge is not.


I will consider that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to insert the following Sub-section: (6) Any contract for the future supply of goods to an enemy which was in existence on the fourth day of August, nineteen hundred and fourteen, or which may be entered into during the currency of the War, is hereby declared to be null and void, and no action in respect of any such contract brought by the parties thereto or their agents shall be entertained in the Courts of this country.


I doubt very much whether on any strict view it would be possible to have an Amendment of this kind to a Clause which deals with the transfer of shares, but as long as it is clearly understood that this point shall be disposed of here and not debated on any new Clause I have no objection.


There is a number of new Clauses on this very important subject of contracts. I think that it is the only point of any substance that is left. I do not know whether it is convenient to discuss it as an Amendment to a Clause that has got nothing to do with it, but it would be a proper thing to have one discussion on the subject.


I am glad that my attention has been drawn to the matter. I think that this is much better discussed as a new Clause.

Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.