HC Deb 20 April 1932 vol 264 cc1472-3

asked the Attorney-General whether his attention has been drawn to the hardship caused to defendants owing to plaints being entered in courts at a long distance from their place of residence; and whether he will consider taking steps, either by legislation or by an alteration of county court rules, to remove this complaint?

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Boyd Merriman)

No specific complaints have reached me recently of the hardship to which the hon. Member refers. I am aware, however, that hardship may occur in cases where the cause of action arises in one district and the defendant resides in another, and the plaintiff enters his plaint in the former district. In such cases it is necessary for the plaintiff to obtain the leave of the court, and the court has a discretion whether to give leave or not. This discretion is exercised having regard to all the circumstances so as to hold the balance fairly between the plaintiff and the defendant, and I am not satisfied that it would be wise to make any alteration in the discretion at present given to the court.


Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that poor litigants in the country are frequently summoned to courts in London and other large towns, and that owing to ignorance of the procedure to adopt, they are unable to take advantage of the rules referred in the answer?


It is rather that class of hardship which I had in mind in the answer. I would call the attention of the hon. Gentleman to the fact that under these Rules there is a very strict one in favour of domestic servants, manual labourers, and so forth.