§ Section nine of the Bastardy Laws Amendment Act, 1872 (which provides for an appeal against an Order made pursuant to the provisions of that Act), shall have effect as though the words "increase or reduce" were substituted for the word "reduce."—[Sir R. Newman.]
§ Brought up, and read the first time.
§ Sir R. NEWMAN
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time." The Home Secretary has most sympathetically considered all our Amendments this evening, and I venture to think that he will see the fairness of this one. It is quite simple. As I understand it, the law at the present time is that if a bench of magistrates fixes a certain sum against the father he has the right of appeal to the Quarter Sessions to have that amount reduced. On the other hand, if the justices grant an order against the father which the mother considers inadequate she has no appeal to the Quarter Sessions to have the amount increased. This Amendment simply aims to place the father and the mother on the same footing—that is to say, that if the magistrates have made an order the father has the right of appeal to Quarter Sessions to have the amount reduced, and also if the mother considers the amount insufficient she should have the right to appeal to have it increased. It really means, in the usual homely old phrase, "That what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." 1895 Therefore I submit that the father and mother should be placed on a fair and equal footing.
§ Sir G. CAVE
I do not think that this Amendment is required, nor do I think it will have the effect desired. Under the Act of 1872 the only person who could appeal was the father, and therefore by merely amending that Act the hon. Member would not attain his object. Luckily the law has been amended since, for by the Act of 1914 either party may appeal from the order. That being so, I am advised that this Amendment is not required.
§ Sir R. NEWMAN
I must admit that I did not understand that that was so. I understand, however, now from the Home Secretary that an appeal can be made by the mother on both heads.
§ Sir W. DICKINSON
I do not like to differ from the Home Secretary, but I cannot help thinking that he is not well advised, because although it is quite true that either party may appeal they have to appeal, I should think, under Section 9 of the Bastardy Laws Amendment Act, 1872. This saysThe Court of Quarter Sessions, on appeal to them against any order made pursuant to the provisions of this Act, may, if they think fit, reduce the amount directed to be paid for the maintenance and education or on account of the relief of the child named in such order, and they shall thereupon alter the order accordingly.Under this Act they have only power to reduce, and unless the other Act has given specific power to increase, I should rather doubt that the Home Secretary is quite correct.
§ Sir G. CAVE
The provision to which I have referred overrides the section which the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Major CHAPPLE
What objection is there to allowing the Act to come into operation as soon as it passes, instead of in 1919?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member can raise that question on Third Heading. He cannot do so now.
§ Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Wednesday next.