§ 1.23 p.m.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in page 1, line 7, after "will," to insert "or otherwise."
The Amendment, which stands in the names of my hon. Friends whose absence I very much deplore, is one upon which they set considerable store, and for that reason, although I am not acquainted with the full brief on behalf of the Amendment, I move it more or less formally. I think that this is a matter giving a certain width of scope to the Bill which the hon. Member in charge of it will be able to accept.
§ 1.24 p.m.
§ Mr. GALBRAITH
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is obviously a matter which ought to be provided for. The first words of Sub-section (1) of Clause 1 are to this effect:Subject to the provisions of this Act, if a testator has not by his will made reasonable provision for the maintenance of a spouse or child, the court may at its discretionmake such reasonable provision as it thinks fit. If the testator has in any way, other than by his will, made reasonable provision for the spouse or child, it is a matter which ought to affect the jurisdiction of the court, and obviously be taken into account. I think that this is a matter which the promoters of the Bill should accept.
§ 1.25 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I hope the promoter of the Bill will accept the Amendment. Clause 1 says:Subject to the provisions of this Act, if a testator has not by his will made reasonable provision.I know of cases where the man had bought annuities for his wife and children. That is a reasonable way of providing for their future, apart from providing for them in the will. Our trouble is, that the Attorney-General gives advice to the hon. Member in charge of the Bill and he declines to accept that advice. In Committee upstairs he accepted all the advice given to him by the Attorney-General, but this 2056 morning because he did not accept some sensible advice we spent an hour in discussion, and he was defeated in the end. I hope that if he declines to accept the advice of the Attorney-General he will on this occasion accept the advice of an ordinary layman who, with a great deal of humility, can claim to have some common sense, if not legal knowledge.
§ 1.26 p.m.
§ Sir J. WARDLAW-MILNE
I always listen with interest to any advice given to me by the hon. Member. I am rather surprised that he should twit me on not having accepted the advice of the Attorney-General this morning. With regard to the hour that was taken by the discussion, very little was taken up by the remarks of mine. I have the greatest sympathy with the object of the Amendment, but I cannot accept it, because it is unnecessary. If it were necessary I should accept it at once, but the advice that I have received, including the advice of my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General, is to the effect that the Amendment is unnecessary. In Clause 1 (2) the Court is given special power to take every factor into consideration in deciding on any application that may be brought before it, and it is clear that one of the considerations must be any settlement made otherwise than by will, or any money given in the lifetime of the testator. The Court must be made aware of all these facts. I am advised that to put in the proposed words would complicate the position and would not achieve the end which the mover of the Amendment has in view.
§ 1.28 p.m.
§ Sir GERALD HURST
The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) raised the question of an annuity having been arranged, and said that it would be wrong that an annuity or a settlement should be disregarded. The test to be applied is, does that annuity form part ofthe present or future income of the applicant.If so, the Court is expressly directed to have regard to such annuity. Is it a:matter or thing which in the circumstances of the case the court may consider relevant or material in relation to the applicant.The answer is, yes. It is obviously relevant and material, therefore the court 2057 must have regard to it as being relevant to any present or future income and as being relevant and material in relation to the applicant. It follows that the insertion of the words, "or otherwise," or the insertion of the words in the next Amendment, "or by any deed," would be harmless but superfluous.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I owe the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) an apology. I forgot that he was the hon. Member who moved the Amendment. Am I to understand that he wishes to withdraw the Amendment?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Yes. I rose for that purpose, in order to save time, because I think the explanation is adequate. Therefore, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ 1.31 p.m.
§ Mr. TURTON
On a point of Order. May I ask whether the next Amendment, which stands in my name, and which is very material, will be called. If we are to have a wide discussion on the two Amendments it might save time. Is it your intention to call that Amendment?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It depends on what happens to the present Amendment. Is it the wish of the Committee that the Amendment be withdrawn?
§ Mr. TURTON
No. I am not entirely satisfied with the explanation that has been given by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) and the explanation given earlier by the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers). The words, "or otherwise," are probably too wide, but I cannot understand the attitude of the promoters of the Bill. If they wished to put in words in Sub-section (1) to give the Courts full discretion, I could understand their attitude. If they said: "Subject to the provisions of this Act, if the testator has not made reasonable 2058 provision for maintenance," that would be quite an intelligible position to take up, but they have put in the words "by his will." Therefore, they are indicating to the spouse or child that if they are not mentioned in the will and if they are mentioned in a deed they can go to the court. That appears to me to be a misfortune. I agree that to some extent these Amendments are redundant, but it is the misfortune of this country, perhaps, that these laws are read not only by lawyers but by laymen—
§ Notice taken that 40 members were not present; House counted, and 40 members being present—
§ Mr. TURTON
As I was saying, although these words may be redundant, they are nevertheless advisable. The Bill will not only be read by lawyers but by laymen and, therefore, it should be quite clearly stated that if a man makes provision by will or deed for his spouse or children that they cannot use the Bill. It is not really any answer to say that under Sub-section (2) the court has a wide discretion. In many matters the court is given a wide discretion. We want to prevent the court being delayed and hindered by a number of applications which will be dismissed on the ground that provision has already been made in some deed or otherwise. The hon. Member for Kidderminster is not serving the cause of poor litigants when he suggests that the words "or by any deed" should be excluded. The Attorney-General knows what great difficulties the courts are under owing to the number of litigations before them and we should be chary before taking any step which will cause a greater amount of confusion and dislocation of work. I can only see one way out. If the hon. Member for Kidderminster cannot accept these words then you will have to appoint additional judges. We want additional judges as it is, and if the hon. Member is going to propose that they should be appointed I am quite willing to withdraw my support of the Amendment. But if we are going to have the same number of judges to do this work—and a great deal of work will be involved when the Bill becomes law—we should put in the words "or otherwise" or my own Amendment, "or by any deed."
2059 Many jointures and portions are made, and in nearly every case where a man has provided his wife with a jointure deed he will exclude her from his will, because he has already made proper provision for her, and will not desire to take away from the little remains for his children. If she is of a malevolent frame of mind or wants the memory of her husband to be embittered in the courts, she will take steps to bring an action to get reasonable maintenance under the Bill. There are many malevolent and litigious persons who wish to keep the courts busy with their own litigation, right or wrong, they have a litigious mania, and in its present form the Bill encourages this litigious mania. I would ask the hon. Member for Kidderminster to think over this matter and if he cannot accept this Amendment to accept mine, which will really be a benefit to his Bill and also a benefit to the spouse and children.
§ 1.40 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
I cannot quite understand the exact nature of the requirements of the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). I have always regarded what he says with a considerable amount of interest and the points he has brought before the House on previous occasions have proved of great value. But on this occasion I am afraid that the only conclusion to which I can come is that his contentions and suggestions can only result in delaying the passage of the Bill into law, that they will obstruct the passing of the Bill. I hope that that state of mind not prevailing amongst those who are speaking with such enthusiasm about the Bill.
§ Mr. TURTON
I do not think the hon. Member is entitled to say that, and I hope he will withdraw it. The hon. Member for Kidderminster has explained that he would regard these words as perfectly necessary but for Sub-section (2) of Clause 1, and I cannot see how I am obstructing the Bill in suggesting words which the hon. Member for Kidderminster says are not unnecessary.
§ Mr. JANNER
I do not want the hon. Member to feel upset about any remark of mine and it may be that what I have said will apply better to other hon. Members. But not only is Sub-section (2) of Clause 1 a covering provision but you have in Sub-section (1) itself the 2060 important words "reasonable provision". It would be ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the will had not made reasonable provision if a larger proportion of the estate been already handed over to the persons concerned. "Reasonable provision" means what it says and requires very little explanation. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton says why not leave out the words "by his will." He may be basing his argument on the point that the word "testator" is in the Bill, but the whole object of the Bill is to provide for such cases as would come within the compass of the words, "has not by his will made reasonable provision." I hope we shall not burden the Bill with more words than are necessary. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton wants the words "or by any deed" put in. The whole point is that the court will not accept a case where "reasonable provision" has been made, and I am certain that if any litigant goes to a lawyer, a poor persons' lawyer, or a lawyer in the ordinary course of his practice, or to any society interested, they will be told that if that kind of provision has been made they stand no chance of succeeding in an action, and that it is possible that the costs will be awarded against them, and they may find themselves in the unhappy position of having to pay a heavy sum for nothing. I hope we shall be able to press on with the Measure. I must compliment my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) on having appreciated the fact that it was important to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ 1.46 p.m.
§ Mr. McKEAG
I do not know what experience the hon. Member who has just spoken has on this matter, but I, speaking as a solicitor and a practical lawyer who might be called upon to advise on matters of this sort, seriously suggest to the House that the hands of the lawyers would be materially strengthened in advising on this matter if the words "or otherwise" were accepted. I am entirely in sympathy with the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) and I can only think that the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) was somewhat precipitate in attempting to withdraw his Amendment. The main point is that the insertion of these words will give to the Bill a scope which is very desirable indeed. The hon. Member for 2061 Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) said he was in sympathy with the desire of the Amendment but that the words were unnecessary.
§ Mr. McKEAG
The hon. Member may be so advised, but opinions differ on the subject and, speaking with some little knowledge of these matters, my view is that the Bill would be materially strengthened by the insertion of these words. Take the position of a lawyer in advising on this matter. If the words "or otherwise" are inserted he would be in a position to advise his client who was seeking to commence litigation, that "reasonable provision" has already been made, though that provision had been made other than by will. But someone may say, "has not by his will made reasonable provision", and insist on an action being commenced. While the hon. Member for Kidderminster may have been advised that these words are unecessary, in my view it is desirable that they should be inserted. If inserted they will, I think, avoid a lot of unnecessary and probably vindictive litigation.
§ 1.49 p.m.
§ Mr. SPENS
I would suggest to the hon. Gentleman who spoke last that the words which follow the word "if" in Sub-section (1) are the conditions precedent which give the court jurisdiction to make an order at all. The Bill provides that the only thing that the court has to look at is whether or not the testator by his will has, "made reasonable provision". That entitles a person to go to the court merely looking at the will. It is suggested that the words "or otherwise" should be inserted here. Suppose that the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. McKeag) had a client who came to him, a person for whom in fact years ago very reasonable provision has been made outside the will, but that client does not inform him of it and the hon. Member merely looks at the will and sees no reference in it to any such provision. The hon. Member advises his client to go to the court, and the court may make an order in complete ignorance that there has been any other provision made at all. Subsequently it turns out that there was a previous provision made years ago and the court's order would be utterly 2062 illegal or void. I do hope that the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill will not accept either this or the following Amendment to insert the words "or by any deed", because, with great respect, my remarks apply in exactly the same way to the following Amendment. If this Amendment is accepted the Bill will become utterly unworkable.
§ 1.50 p.m.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
Both this Amendment and the next Amendment, to insert the words "or by any deed," are misconceived. The Bill deals with the estates of testators and has nothing whatever to do with deeds, "or otherwise," at all, except in so far as that is dealt with in Sub-section (2). That Subsection provides that when applicants make an application for rectification of a testator's will consideration has to be given to what has been done otherwise. It would make the whole thing gibberish to put in these words.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
In that case would the court be entitled to know whether an annuity had been bought?
§ Sir J. WITHERS
Certainly. The applicant would have to disclose absolutely everything in regard to any present or future income from any source. He has to disclose that under Subsection (2). The wife or husband would have to show not only what was got from the testator but from all sources. These words are entirely misconceived and would be redundant. We are dealing with a testator's estate—
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
Suppose that on some previous occasion a certain amount has been made over to the person and he has spent the lot? What is the position?
§ Sir J. WITHERS
That is a matter which the court would have to consider. Suppose that the testator handed over to his son £10,000 to set him up in business, and then the son spent it, and when the testator died the son was not mentioned in the will because the testator thought that he was already provided for. What would be the position? The son would have to go to the court. The other people would say, "Oh, this boy ought not to have £10,000, for he has already had £10,000," and then the judge would have to consider whether, 2063 having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it was reasonable that he should or should not have anything more. I suggest that that is the position.
§ Mr. TURTON
But surely Sub-section (2) deals only with the present or future income of the applicant. Therefore the case put by the hon. and learned Member for Ashford (Mr. Spens) is the very case in which it is necessary to have the words "or otherwise".
§ Sir G. HURST
Is not the answer to that the wording of Sub-section (2), "consider relevant or material" matter?
§ 1.54 p.m.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I must say that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers) has held out a pleasant vista of future litigation. The prodigal son will always be coming before the courts, and as to the other members of the family, how it will provoke the spirit of human kindness when they come to show how he wasted his substance in riotous living. He may have come back on one or two occasions and have had as many fatted calves slain for him as are slain in the South of Ireland to-day, and provision may have been made again and again for him, but at the end of the day he comes to the court and says, "Oh, yes, it is quite true, but the death of my beloved father and mother has given me such a shock that I promise to be a good citizen from now onwards, and I therefore pray that notwithstanding all that I have received and all that I have dissipated I may have some share of the estate from which my father has unjustly disinherited me." These matters are to come before a judge but questions of that kind are not questions which it is competent for a judge to decide. These are matters which ought to be decided by a jury of the applicant's peers, otherwise you will have as many opinions on these points as there are judges. When these matters are referred to a jury you go to the country as it were upon them, and you would get a far more commonsense view in that way than you will get under this system. I think probably the proposal to amend the Clause is sound. I would deprecate leaving the matter as it-is in the Bill.
§ 1.56 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not know whether my opinion on the question is of any interest or importance to the House, but the view presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers) appears to me to be the right view having regard to the provisions of Sub-section (2) of the Clause and the use of the word "reasonable" twice in Sub-section (1). I very much doubt whether the additional words proposed would not introduce unnecessary complications.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
How is "reasonable" to be defined? What is reasonable to one person may be considered most unreasonable by another person.
§ 1.57 p.m.
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
I owe an apology to the House for my absence at an earlier stage when this Amendment, which stands in my name, was proposed. I hope the House will accept my apology and will not consider it due to any discourtesy on my part that I was not present to move the Amendment myself. The object of putting down the Amendment was to make clear the point which I now understand from the Attorney-General is in his opinion covered by Sub-section (2) of Clause 1. But in the case of estates of any considerable size I would have said that it was the practice to-day in normal circumstances that the majority of the children of any father making a will did not expect to inherit under that will. I think the ordinary practice of people of substance is to provide for their children by deed, or settlement, and it ought to be made clear that there is no intention in this Bill to interfere with that practice. Surely it is the case in connection with the normal estate of any considerable size, that married daughters, younger sons, and so on, have been provided for by deed or by settlement prior to the death of the testator. If the object of the Bill is to alter the whole law of inheritance, let it be done in a straightforward way. I, for my part, think there is a great deal to be said for the Scottish system of inheritance. If we wish to adopt it let us do so, but I am afraid that by tinkering with the present English system of the free right of testamentary disposition we may produce a great many more anomalies than those which we seek to remove.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
A Bill was actually passed in this House applying the Scottish system. It was sent to a Select Committee, and the Select Committee declined to have the Scottish system because, they said, it was a hard and fast system. They turned it down and they recommended the particular system which is in this Bill.
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
The hon. Member speaks as an Englishman, and I know that there is a certain prejudice against Scotland. But I say that in theory there is a great deal to be said for the Scottish system. It is, at any rate, an understandable, theoretical system of inheritance. It is based upon a principle which one can understand and follow. But this is a proposal to interfere as I say with the free right of testamentary disposition which exists in England by trying to make tinkering amendments in the present system. I submit that that involves certain dangers and may create as many hardships as it seeks to remove. We have here in contra-distinction the spirit of Scotland and the spirit of England. Whereas in Scotland the system is operated upon general established principles, we have in these proposals a typical example of trying not to lay down any new system, but to tinker with an
§ old one in a way which may be dangerous.
§ The object of this Amendment is to make plain that the governing words of Clause 1 do not mean that every child is necessarily to have the right to make an application because he thinks that he ought to inherit under a will. We ask that account should be taken of the present practice of making provision for members of a family by deed or settlement. That is done for reasons other than sentimental reasons in some cases. It may be done for reasons of taxation for example and the practice is, perhaps, growing. If we do not amend the Bill in the way proposed it may be used to upset the present system. In spite of what the Attorney-General said, I still think that in the opening words of the first Clause of the Bill it ought to be made clear to the court that it is not the intention of Parliament to lay down a principle that every child has a right to inherit under a will, but that it is intended that account should be had of other provision which has been made in the ordinary practice in English family life.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 55; Noes, 67.2067
|Division No. 222.]||AYES.||[2.4 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Greene, William P. C.||Radford, E. A.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Groves, Thomas E.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Banfield, John William||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hanley, Dennis A.||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Cape, Thomas||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Thorne, William James|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Lunn, William||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Daggar, George||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Maitland, Adam||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Dobbie, William||Meller, Sir Richard James||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Edwards, Charles||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Pike, Cecil F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Macmillan and Mr. McKeag.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Clarry, Reginald George||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Clayton, Sir Christopher||Grimston, R. V.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Copeland, Ida||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Balniel, Lord||Crooke, J. Smedley||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Bernays, Robert||Denville, Alfred||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Dickie, John P.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Rea, Walter Russell||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|McEntee, Valentine L.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Wallace, John (Dunfermilne)|
|Magnay, Thomas||Renter, John R.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Rickards, George William||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Runge, Norah Cecil||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Spens, William Patrick||Wilmot, John|
|Nunn, William||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Sir John Withers and Mr. Janner.|
§ 2.11 p.m.
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, after "or" to insert "legitimate."
The object of the Amendment is to make it clear that the expression "child" in the Bill refers to a legitimate child. I am afraid I have not sufficient knowledge as a lawyer to know whether this is absolutely necessary or not, but I think it would be the object of the promoters of the Bill that the rights conferred in the Bill should be confined to legitimate children. It may be that I am wrong. There may be an argument put forward that equal rights should be given to illegitimate as to legitimate children, but I am assuming that the object of the promoters is that the rights conferred in the Bill should be confined to legitimate children. I understand, from what I am told by legal authorities who have much more knowledge of these matters than I have, that in the ordinary practice of the interpretation of deeds and wills the expression "child" may mean either a legitimate or an illegitimate child. It means a legitimate child unless either the circumstances render it impossible that it could refer to such a child or the language of the will shows that the testator intended to use the expression in a different or a more extended sense. In either of these cases, it may mean or include an illegitimate child, or step-child, or grand-child. Therefore, I ask the House to make it quite clear that in this Bill the Legislature does not intend the expression "child" to be used in these wider senses in which it may be used in the ordinary interpretation of wills. I hope the House will accept the view that the new powers and rights that it is intended to confer in the Bill should be confined to the legitimate children of the testator. All the Amendments on the Paper in my name to Clause 6 are consequential upon this Amendment.
§ 2.14 p.m.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I beg to second the Amendment.
There is, I think, some doubt about the point, and I think it ought to be absolutely clear one way or the other. It is a very important point, because the question of legitimacy might not arise for many years afterwards. It might never be raised. One has felt very great sympathy with those who may be in the position of not having been born legitimate children, but at the same time those of us who have had experience—and I may say that in Scotland solicitors and counsel for the poor have always a considerable experience of this regrettable aspect of life—know that you cannot always be sure in matters of that kind. The Scottish law has been very broad and charitable in that matter for centuries. We have always had the practice of the very sound principle of legitimisation by subsequent marriage. It is the one case in recent years where the English have adopted the Scottish law. It is very regrettable that the Scottish law is not adopted in this matter, but you cannot have the Scottish law of legitimisation on subsequent marriage without the father of the child admitting in his own heart paternity.
Here you may have case after case happening 20 years afterwards, and claims and trials, and think of the indignation of the mother and other members of the family if these other people suddenly appear from the ends of the earth. You are admitting a most dangerous principle. If you leave this without a clear definition, you will be introducing a matter of great dispute and perhaps of great injustice. It is all very well to speak of the system of blood tests but I have had cases where—well, one does not want to enter into these details, but one could not help having the feeling that a great injustice was being done, and we saw 2069 only the other day the case of a young man who had gone a score of times to prison rather than admit paternity, and who finally succeeded in getting clear proof that he had been victimised. You might have cases occurring again and again. Some hon. Members may have seen a play called "It's a Boy," in which there is a man who makes a professional practice, whenever any person of substance is getting married, of introducing himself, having perhaps heard of some scandal in early life, and making use of that knowledge. If you do not have this definition, you are opening a gate, perhaps, to some very extraordinary proceedings, and if it is necessary to make the thing clear, I think that this Amendment ought to be accepted.
§ 2.19 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I am a little sorry that the hon. Gentleman has raised this issue, because it seems to me that in some cases the only child of the marriage might be an illegitimate child.
§ Mr. DAVIES
We have taken a good many doubtful things from Scotland. I do not like to see Parliament doing anything against the illegitimate child, because it is not its fault that it is illegitimate. The illegitimate child may be the best. I think it is recorded that some of the most eminent men this country has ever produced were illegitimate children. Consequently, I would ask the House not to insert this word. If my knowledge counts for anything, I think that the illegitimate child from the start is under a disadvantage, and to place it under a further disadvantage by adding this word to the Clause would be grossly unfair to the child.
§ 2.21 p.m.
§ Sir G. HURST
The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has made an eloquent defence of the Bill on grounds which show, if I may say so with respect, that he quite misunderstands it. His defence is based on the view that in its present 2070 form the Bill covers the illegitimate child. I speak subject to what the learned Attorney-General may say, but I think "child" means legitimate child and nothing else. Therefore, the defence of the Clause which the hon. Gentleman has just delivered is founded on misconception. The only reason why, I think, the Amendment ought not perhaps to be accepted is, that it introduces new matter where there is no confusion, because "child" means a legitimate child. If, on the other hand, there is some doubt which the Amendment would clear away, there seems to be no reason why it should not be accepted.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman say that an illegitimate child is not a child in law?
§ 2.23 p.m.
§ Mr. GRIMSTON
I do not know whether the House would like to have the views of the promoter of the Bill on this Amendment, but he has gone away to refresh himself, and, in his absence, I think that I can give them to the House. Following on what the last hon. and learned Member has said, the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) are that the word "child" in the Bill means a legitimate child, but that if the House sees fit to add the word "legitimate," it makes not the slightest difference, and he is quite prepared to accept the Amendment.
§ 2.24 p.m.
§ Mr. LECKIE
I am not in a position to speak on the legal definition of the word "child," and I would have liked the advice of the Attorney-General on the subject, because it is a purely legal question. The discussion has raised a similar question in my mind as to what is the position of an adopted child under the Bill. In view of the greatly increased number of children legally adopted, I am wondering whether they will automatically be excluded from the provisions of the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the word 'legitimate' be there inserted in the Bill."2071
§ The House proceeded to a Division—
§ There being no Members willing to act as Tellers for the Ayes, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER declared that the Noes had it.
§ Mr. ANNESLEY SOMERVILLE
I beg to move, in page 1, line 16, at the end, to insert:Provided that in the case of a child no such provision shall continue after such child has attained the age of twenty-five years or married, whichever event shall first happen.This Amendment is moved in the interests of the initiative of the younger generation. There was a case recently where a self-made man who had made a very large amount of money by his own exertions and had used it well thought the best thing that he could do for his family was to give them a thoroughly good training and then to make them dependent on their own exertions. A large number of parents feel like that, and undoubtedly when a provision of that sort is made it has a bracing effect on the family. Take the case of a man who has plenty of ability but a tendency to laziness. The father feels that the abilities of his son will be best developed by the son knowing that he has to depend on his own exertions. Consequently, he makes provision in his will for the son to be provided for to a certain age, and that then he has to depend on his own efforts. Under the terms of the Bill the son would be provided for for life, and the object of the Amendment is to provide that it will not be necessary for the courts to make provision after the age of 25.
§ 2.29 p.m.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is a very wise provision. Up till now the rule has been that a father knew best and was able to do his best for his children. The circumstances which have been adumbrated by the mover of the Amendment are perfectly correct. It is a familiar thing that mental capacity is often accompanied by a disinclination for hard work. That is why we so often find Labour leaders in this House—men of great mental capacity. There is nothing worse for a young man than to have great possessions. Nothing does a man any good in this life except what he makes for himself. The other is a burden 2072 and tends to paralyse his initiative. I question whether the age of 25 laid down in the Amendment is old enough; the tendency is to raise the age of compulsory education and it will take a child a longer time to recover from it and have sufficient capacity and industry to work for himself. Mrs. Humphrey Ward, who was a great and able lady of the last generation, said that it took a young man five years to get the better of an Oxford career. Perhaps one of the promoters of the Bill will tell us how long it takes to get the better of a Cambridge career.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
It is an absurd thing to think that grown men should look to an inheritance instead of depending on their own efforts. I will not say so much about the women, who may have been brought up unfitted to fend for themselves and may not be clothed with a husband, as the saying is; but a great big fellow of 25 years of age ought to be able to fend for himself instead of waiting for the old man to pass out in order that he may inherit his money. I remember that Pullman, the inventor of the Pullman car and a multi-millionaire of the United States, who left untold millions, had two sons of whom he thought very little. He left them comparatively small annuities to give them a chance of subsistence, but not much more, because, he said, he had had the opportunity of studying these young men far longer than anybody else, and he knew there was nothing more likely to bring them to disaster and sorrow than that they should have put into their hands the vast millions which he had amassed. So he took the whole community of the United States to his bosom and adopted them and made them all his children, legitimate and illegitimate. He left his vast fortune for the general benefit of the American citizens, because he thought his two sons would make bad use of it. They had evidently been some of the "boys" in their young days and had never settled down.
This attitude is quite understandable. It is difficult for a man with money left to him to settle down to anything serious, and it is more difficult in the United States than here. I know some respectable young millionaires, though not a great many, and the tendency is to 2073 wander on to the broad road. The greatest stimulus is for a man to realise that he has to make his own way in the world. I therefore think this Amendment pretty well meets the situation. There may be cases of children suffering from sickness or chronic disease and incapacity and the Amendment might be moderated to some extent so that such children should not become a charge on the community. That may be wholly unnecessary, however, because I cannot imagine any parent who would be so worthless as to operate complete disinheritance of a helpless child. Therefore I think it is quite unnecessary, but it is more in the public interest, and in the interest of the so-called beneficiaries themselves, that after the age of 25 these alimentary and eleemosynary claims should end. I have no belief in endowing what, in many cases, may be a bunch of prodigal sons.
§ 2.35 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I venture to think the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not do better than read the observations of the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) on the subject of inheritance.
§ Mr. JONES
Perhaps not, after a Labour Government have been in office for some time. I think in the closing observations which he made the hon. and learned Member did point to a flaw in this Amendment. I should agree with the general proposition he laid down in his observations, but as the Amendment stands I think it is capable of doing some injustice to individuals. Let us assume, as sometimes unfortunately happens, that a son or daughter over the age of 25 is permanently incapacitated physically or mentally, or perhaps both. This Amendment, if unaltered, would deprive such a one of the benefit of inheritance, and I think that would be a very gross injustice, because if my deduction is correct the only consequence would be that such a person, being mentally or physically defective, would inevitably become a burden on the community. Obviously the hon. and learned Gentleman would not wish that to happen.
§ 2.38 p.m.
Sir J. WARDLAW.-MILNE
I must tell the Committee that I am unable to accept the Amendment. The whole position taken up by the promoters of the Bill, a position which is in accordance with the views of the Joint Committee, has been that in legislation of this kind we must leave such matters as these to the discretion of the courts. If once we begin to fetter the discretion of the judge in the way suggested in this Amendment it is obvious that we shall have to give consideration to all sorts of suggestions which hon. Members can put forward, many of them, no doubt, very necessary and wise in their way, and instruct the judge what he has to do under all those various circumstances. The alternative to that is to leave the court free to decide each case on its merits, and that is what this Bill proposes. I am sorry to have to repeat it, but I must ask the House to have regard to the fact that the Committee decided that the only proper and reasonable way of dealing with this matter was to leave the whole thing to the discretion of the court; and in the sub-Clause which we shall come to shortly—if we ever reach it—the House will see that the court has been given the fullest discretion to deal with every case which will come before it, taking everything into consideration—every possible source of income and every other matter which can be brought before it.
It is perfectly true—there is no use in denying it—that there may be circumstances in the past history of a family of which the court will never have cognisance, but that is a risk that must be run. No one puts this forward as a perfect piece of legislation; all we can do is to deal with the average case, and in the average case there would be applicants who would hope to receive some benefit and others who would oppose those applicants, and therefore it is probable that every conceivable circumstance which can be brought forward will come to the attention of the court, and then the judge must decide on the facts before him at the time and also taking into consideration even the circumstances which existed between the parties. That is a very wide discretion. 2075 The House must make up its mind whether it is prepared to give that discretion, in which case an Amendment of this kind is really quite unnecessary, or whether we are to have a different type of Bill in which we go into every possible circumstance that may arise and instruct the court what to do in every circumstance. I submit that it is quite useless to insert these words unless we are going to change the whole character of the Bill.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I suggest that we might except cases of permanent disability. Does the hon. Gentleman say that the court will take into consideration the case of young men of 22, 23, 24 or 25?
§ 2.41 p.m.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
A misapprehension has arisen from the fact that the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) has been under the impression that maintenance meant maintenance for life. It does not mean that at all. The whole matter is left to the Judge. The whole idea of the Bill is to leave it to the Judge to decide. It would be open to the House to say that it would not agree to provision being made for anybody over the age of 21, but that has nothing to do with the Bill. I think the idea which prompted the hon. Member to put forward this Amendment was that it was a provision for life, and in that he is mistaken.
§ 2.42 p.m.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I wish to say a few words against this Amendment. Either we must give discretion to the judge in all cases or in no cases. May I remind those who support this Amendment of one type of case? There may be elderly daughters who have given, perhaps, their whole lives to looking after a parent and then, when it is far too late for them to go into the labour market, they are thrown on their own resources. The Amendment would work very hardly in such cases. I so much sympathise with the view of the proposer of the Amendment that two years ago, when I introduced a Bill roughly on the Scottish lines, I expressly limited the operation of it to the surviving spouse 2076 and minor children, but afterwards I received letters which showed that in that form it would shut out some very hard cases, and that is why I did not feel so disappointed as I might otherwise have done when the Joint Select Committee refused a form of Bill based on the Scottish system and recommended the form that we are now introducing. We have already been discussing this Measure for two-and-three-quarter hours and have only one-and-a-quarter hours left. I know that a good many of those who are prolonging the discussion will not be too sorry if they succeed in talking the Bill out.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I think they might feel differently if they could read some of the letters which I and the promoter of the Bill have received while it has been under discussion. They are really heartrending letters, from people who have suffered cruelty under the present law. They come not only from people who have already been disinherited and thrown into poverty after a lifetime given to the service of their husbands and children, but also from people who are suffering in advance, because of thoroughly bad husbands. Such do exist, though they are only a tiny minority. Such thoroughly bad husbands hold the power of inheritence like a sword over the unfortunate wife's head.
If hon. Members could only study in detail the cases of hardship that arise in the present state of the law, I cannot think that they would take the matter as lightly as they do. They could not feel that it was a good joke to leave wretched people to struggle like trapped rabbits in a snare, uttering their pitiful little cries in the hope that somebody will hear them and that legislation will be brought about in time to rescue them. There are many cases of elderly women who have brought up families and have worked hard all their lives helping their husbands to build up businesses. The husband perhaps has taken a mistress or has grown senile, or, because of some whim or caprice, has left the woman absolutely destitute, perhaps dependent only upon the poor law. One case which recently came to my knowledge was that of a woman who, after struggling hard 2077 to help her husband to get a medical education and living happily for several years, was separated and obtained a maintenance order. She was given the highest rate under the order that could possibly be given, and then the man died leaving a fortune of several thousands of pounds which he had amassed in his medical practice. The woman is dependent on the Poor Law and lives with her old father, who has no resources except his old age pension. There are many other cases such as that, and they are looking to this House for assistance. I beg hon. Members not to obstruct this Bill, but to allow it to have a Third Reading.
§ 2.47 p.m.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
There is a great deal in what has been said by the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) as to the daughter who has given a good many years of her life to the support of her father, but that does not carry her argument very far, because she overlooks the fact that very often a niece has shown equal devotion. It may even sometimes be true of an unmarried mother. All those people will come under the Bill. The hon. Lady over-emphasised her case, and it will not assist the Bill if she charges hon. Members with joking about a very difficult matter. I remember that she was a member of a Select Committee and helped to destroy her own offspring when she brought in a Bill in another Parliament. Although this Bill may have many faults, to accept the principle of it is not to exclude people over 25 years of age. I will not follow the hon. Lady's example by making a Second Reading speech, because that might have a damaging effect upon the prospects of the Bill.
§ 2.48 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I trust the House will not accept the Amendment even in a modified form. If it were carried, even in the modified form—
§ Mr. DAVIES
The modified form is, I understand:Provided that in the case of a child no such provision shall continue after such child has attained the age of twenty-five years or married, whichever event shall first 2078 happen, unless such child is totally incapacitated.It was something of that kind. If it were carried, it would debar some children, and in some cases all children, from making any claim. If all the children of the testator were over 25 years of age or were married, they would have no claim at all. I believe that that is wrong in principle.
§ Mr. DAVIES
My hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) said exactly what I said in the early part of the Debate. If we had a properly ordered society the problems which are to be dealt with by the Bill ought never to arise. I intended to reply to the hon. Gentleman who suggested that the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) would not have moved this Amendment if he had not been under the impression that payments would continue for life. The court could, in fact, decide that payments should continue for life. There is no doubt about that. The Bill will do a great deal of good in removing hardship, but I am not so sure, looking at the Bill as a layman, that the people who are doing wrong to their families now would not still find a way of doing wrong, in spite of the Bill. Despite what was said by the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone), I can imagine no law which we can pass that will prevent a man doing a dirty trick on his family.
§ 2.52 p.m.
§ Mr. MAITLAND
I apologise to the House for not being in my place when the Amendment was called, although I have been in attendance throughout most of the Debate. May I remind the hon. Lady the Member for the combined Universities (Miss Rathbone) that on Second Reading the Bill passed through the House without discussion. I have very carefully read the Debates which took place in the Committee, and I am sure, speaking for myself and for the hon. friends with whom I have been associated, that we have not acted in any spirit of destructive criticism but with the sole object of improving the provisions of the Bill. The Bill is in many respects much inferior to that which the hon. Lady 2079 introduced some time ago. The principle embodied in this Amendment was in the hon. Lady's Bill, but I have been more generous in the limits which have been fixed. In her Bill the interests of a child ceased upon the attainment of the age of 23 years or two years after the completion of full-time education whichever came first. We suggest in this case that the interest should cease when the child becomes 25 years of age. Hon. Members have suggested that we should give complete discretion to the court, but is it really the desire of Parliament to provide no guiding principle to the judges upon which they are to work in adjudicating in these matters? This Amendment does not touch the question of the widow who remarries. In the hon. Lady's Bill I believe it was provided that on the remarriage of a widow her interest would cease. Again, the hon. Lady's Bill fixed a limit of £2,000 a year for a widow and £300 a year for a child.
We are asked, as a House of Commons, to give to the courts unlimited power. I should be the last person in the world to make the slightest reflection upon the capacity of our courts to deal with this matter, but I do say that it is part and parcel of our duty to lay down certain principles which should guide the courts and indicate to them the intentions of Parliament. There is a wider issue involved than the mere question whether the interest of the child shall cease at the age of 25, and that is the question whether it is the intention of this House to pass a Bill giving such unlimited power and discretion to the courts without giving any definition or lead to them in regard to the principles which are to guide them in deciding cases which, unquestionably, will be very difficult. I am quite prepared to accept the alteration which has been suggested. I think that the provision in the Bill of the hon. Member for the English Universities related to children who were physically or mentally incapable of self-support. I am quite prepared to accept those exceptions, but I would ask the supporters of the Bill in all seriousness if they have considered its implications, to decide for themselves whether they think it is in accordance with the principles of Parliamentary government that we should hand over such extensive powers to our courts 2080 without indicating to them the kind of principles which we expect them to follow in making their decisions.
§ Mr. MAITLAND
That is a contentious subject. I know that 21 has been fixed for all practical purposes as the age of maturity, and I realise that, if a young lady of 21 told me that she was engaged to be married, I should immediately congratulate her, and should not question her wisdom in choosing a husband, though I might hope that she had chosen wisely. But I have a shrewd suspicion in my mind that the age of 25, whether in connection with the choice of a husband or with choice on other important matters, is an appropriate age, and I think that in a matter of this kind it is well to err on the side of generosity. Therefore, the age of 25 has been taken rather than 21.
§ 2.59 p.m.
§ Mr. BAILEY
The hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) has mentioned to us several cases of hardship, but there is no law under the sun which does not in specific cases produce hardship, and, when you legislate, you have to legislate on general lines and for the good of the whole. The particular hardships which may be involved by testamentary injustices do not apply with nearly so much force to people of the age of 25 who are able-bodied and able to earn their own living. They are just the kind of people who can, if they want to do so, make their own way in the world, and do not need assistance from their parents, unless their parents are willing to give that assistance.
What is attempted by this Bill, and the Amendment would prevent it in the case of children over the age of 25, is the setting up of the Court as a judge of what is a man's duty. In cases connected with family affairs you never get the truth before the court. A son may he a thoroughly bad son without breaking publicly any of the commandments with which the court might be concerned. To-day there is far more danger of parental authority being undermined than of children being unjustly treated. For every hard case in which a child—and especially a child of the age of 25—is left by an 2081 unnatural parent without provision, there are 50 hard cases of children not respecting their parents' wishes where they ought to respect them. In my view this House ought to do nothing to make it easier to weaken the tie of parental authority. I should regard it as a great argument against bringing a child into the world if the parent's power to influence him for good was nullified by his being able to say that his parent should have no influence over him unless he was prepared to wash all his dirty linen in public. Look at the number of men of 25 who fall in love with a pair of pretty eyes or a pair of pretty ankles, and whom the wisdom of their fathers prevents—
§ Mr. BAILEY
I agree with the Noble Lady that, in replying to interjections from her, it is very unwise to raise controversial matters. I have made my point. It is simply that a father can very often exercise the best possible judgment in preventing his son from doing something foolish if he has the financial argument in the background. If that authority is taken away, one knows quite well that in actual practice, when these matters come to be administered, there will be, as in the case of separation orders in the police court, a compromise every time. You can practically never tell in a police court whether the wife or the husband is in the right. Each side comes along and blackguards the other, and the court nearly always makes a compromise Order. In this case also it would mean that practically any son who wanted to break away from his father's authority, unless he went absolutely wild, could do it.
We ought not to allow the courts to meddle in our family affairs. For the most part hitherto in this country we have kept our family affairs out of the courts, and I hope we shall never do anything in any other direction which would merely be the thin end of the wedge. Let us look at this matter as a whole, leaving rhetoric aside. I represent an industrial Division, where I move among the people 2082 a great deal, and I never hear of a case where a father or mother has treated a child badly. I find that their relations as a whole are perfectly friendly and proper. Cases in which you find that a father has treated his children badly are quite exceptional, and, if you legislate for such exceptional cases, you are likely to break down what is the best bond of family life—the privacy between father and son and between man and wife.
§ 3.4 p.m.
§ Mr. SPENS
Although personally I agree with very much of what the last speaker has said, I would like to bring the House back to the Amendment. My own view is that it is quite impossible to lay down in detail in the House of Commons the conditions which should be observed by the courts in administering the provisions of this Bill if it becomes law. After even a few moments' consideration of the Amendment as it stands on the Paper, someone picked a hole in it, and I am certain that those of us who have to spend our lives in assisting the judges to administer discretionary provisions would be able to put on paper within three-quarters of an hour half-a-dozen other conditions which ought to be embodied if we are going to confine the discretion of the judges at all. It is impossible for this or any other assembly to provide beforehand for all the particular circumstances which are going to arise in each individual family case. Subsection (1) of the Clause provides that the Orders which are to be made by the court in these cases are to be subject to such conditions and restrictions as the court thinks fit. It is true that, as the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) said, Clause 1, as it is worded at present, might be held to mean that the court could only make one Order, which would have to go on for all time. That point has already been noticed, and I have no doubt at all that, if the Bill becomes law, temporary Orders will be made which can be varied to meet all the circumstances as they arise.
I ask the House, if they are going to accept the general principle of the Bill of putting into the hands of Chancery judges, and possibly county court judges, the discretionary powers in the first Clause of the Bill, that they will do so realising that every time they make an order they will be taking away from some 2083 beneficiary what the testator has left to that beneficiary. Bred up, as they all have been in the belief that that is the very last thing that any judge ought to be asked to do, I am certain that they will administer this discretion very jealously indeed in favour of the beneficiary, and I do not believe anyone need fear for a moment that in making their orders they will lean unfairly against the beneficiary and too generously towards the applicant. I believe that the lines on which they will administer the discretion will be simply to give what is absolutely necessary to maintain the applicant who has been improperly provided for and nothing further. I ask the House to reject the Amendment and to trust the judges to administer this discretion that it is placing on them.
§ 3.8 p.m.
§ Mr. GALBRAITH
My name is down as one of the supporters of the Amendment, and I hope the proposer will take it to a division. I believe it raises most important questions of principle, as regards which the House must take its own course. By this Bill we are enabling the courts in cases where provision has not been made for wife or children, to take away from the persons to whom the testator has given it the property which be has thought fit to bequeath to them. That being so, I think the principle that we ought to try to put into the Bill is that the abrogation of property ought not to be given affect to more than
§ absolutely necessary to carry out what we want to carry out by the Bill.
§ Mr. GALBRAITH
The hon. Member for the Combined Universities (Miss Rathbone), when she brought in her Measure in 1931, said its object was that where a surviving spouse and children were left almost destitute, power ought to be given to go to the court, That being so, ought not the House to lay down certain rules and principles to guide the discretion that the courts have to exercise? I would be the last person to suggest that the discretion that we give them will not be exercised in the fairest and most trustworthy way, but, after all we have a responsibility in the matter. If some of the arguments which have been put forward on the other side are to be given effect to, we might just as well say that, in a case where a testator has not made reasonable provision for his wife or children, the judges of the Chancery Division should decide what is right to be done. That is very largely what the Bill comes to unless we put in some regulations to guide the court, and it is because I strongly hold that to be desirable that I ask the House to accept the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill".
§ The House divided: Ayes, 46; Noes, 78.2085
|Division No. 223.]||AYES.||[3.11 p.m.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nunn, William|
|Attleo, Clement Richard||Hanley, Dennis A.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||McKeag, William||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Rickards, George William|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Magnay, Thomas||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Meller, Sir Richard James||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Morrison, William Shephard||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Greene, William P. C.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||North, Edward T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Somerville and Mr. Maitland.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Barnays, Robert||Copeland, Ida|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Cape, Thomas||Crooke, J. Smedley|
|Banfield, John William||Carver, Major William H.||Daggar, George|
|Batey, Joseph||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Clayton, Sir Christopher||Denville, Alfred|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Leckie, J. A.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Dickie, John P.||Lees-Jones, John||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Dobbie, William||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Spens, William Patrick|
|Edwards, Charles||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Locker-Lampion, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clara||Lunn, William||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Thorns, William James|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||McKie, John Hamilton||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maxton, James||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Penny, Sir George||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Radford, E. A.||Wilmot, John|
|Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Ron, Walter Russell|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Ross, Ronald D.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Runge, Norah Cecil||Sir John Withers and Captain Ramsay.|
§ 3.20 p.m.
§ Mr. MAITLAND
I beg to move, in page 1, line 19, after "source," to insert "and,".
When this matter came before the Committee there were only two speeches in regard to it, one an explanation by the Attorney-General and the other an acceptance of it by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne). The point that I had in mind in putting down the Amendment was to bring to the notice of the House the rather wide roving commission that is suggested by the procedure here adopted. On reflection, I am not quite certain that this is an Amendment that I feel disposed to press to a Division, but I think it is worth while bringing to the notice of the House what is proposed. It is proposed that if any application is made for the purposes of Clause 1 (1):The court shall, on any application made under this Act, have regard to any present or future income of the applicant from any source.No one can reasonably object to that.
The second matter about which the court is to make inquiry is the conduct of the applicant in relation to the testator. My purpose in putting down my Amendments is rather to make an inquiry from the Attorney-General as to the third matter in the Clause and to ask whether it is intended that all matters which may be quite extraneous to the dispute shall be brought before the court. It is quite right and proper to inquire into the present or future income of the person who is seeking for provision to be made for him, it is quite right and proper that inquiry should be made as to the conduct and relationship which existed between the testator and himself, 2086 but I am not quite certain that it is right that questions which have no relation whatever to these personal matters should be discussed and brought before the court on an issue of this kind. I am seeking information rather than laying down any dogmatic opinion as to whether it is right to include the words which my later Amendment proposes to delete.
§ 3.22 p.m.
§ Mr. GALBRAITH
I beg to second the Amendment.
I hope hon. Members will look at the extraordinarily wide words in Subsection (2). In the first place, these are things which the court which must apparently take into account in deciding whether or not provision should be made for the maintenance of a spouse or child, not provided for by the testator's will.The court shall, on any application made under this Act, have regard to any present or future income of the applicant from any source, to the conduct of the applicant in relation to the testator or otherwise, and to any other matter or thing which in the circumstances of the case the court may consider relevant or material in relation to the applicant.It is most important and proper that the court should take into account the means of the applicant and the conduct of the applicant in regard to the testator, but why should it be relevant to inquire whether many years before the applicant had been guilty of something which was disgraceful or shameful? This can have no bearing on the question as to whether proper provision has been made for him by the testator and seems to be going too far.
§ 3.23 p.m.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
I hope that the promoters of the Bill will reject 2087 the proposal. It would narrow improperly the matters which the court should take into account. As it stands, they can take into account the conduct of the applicant in relation to the testator, but if the words suggested are left out they would not be able to take into account the conduct of the testator, when he was alive, to the applicant. That would be shut out, and also the court would be excluded from taking into account how the applicant is to live. Although they are to have regard to any present or future income it might happen that the applicant received nothing and that his only mode of maintenance was to make application to the Poor Law guardians. An income received from the Poor Law guardians would not be received as "present or future income" for the purpose of this Sub-section. Therefore, if these words are left out the court would not be able to take into account how the applicant is to maintain himself or herself.
I am considering the case where he or she is not in a position to work and has no other means. In that case he or she would fall on the Poor Law. Although I am one of those who doubt the way the Bill has been drafted, I see no reason why people should bring children into the world and when those people die expect the ratepayers to keep their survivors. After all that is the plain logic of it; those who deny that there is need for any legislation are saying that in some circumstances people who are parents have no responsibility for their children when the parents are gone, and that the children have to be maintained by the ratepayers. If the opponents of the Bill have these words deleted the court would be debarred from considering at all who is to maintain an applicant.
§ 3.27 p.m.
§ Mr. LOVAT-FRASER
When the hon. Lady the Member for the combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone) introduced her Bill in 1931, I was very glad to vote for it. It was based on the provisions of the Scottish law, which in turn is based on the Roman law. That Bill seemed to me to reflect the precision and the logical character of Scottish and Roman law. I am entirely in favour of the principle behind this Bill, entirely in 2088 sympathy with her aim in relieving the cases of distress of which she gave us such a pathetic account to-day. But my desire to promote that object does not shut my eyes to the character of the Bill. This Bill, in striking contrast to the Bill of 1931, is illogical and unsound.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I must remind the hon. Member that we are now dealing with an Amendment and not with the whole Bill.
§ Mr. LOVAT-FRASER
I was coming to the Amendment. One of the worst features of the Bill is this particular Clause. I support the Amendment. The language of the Clause to my mind is vague and unsatisfactory to the last degree:any other matter or thing which in the circumstances of the case the court may consider relevant or material in relation to the applicant.
Does the hon. Member not think that the court could be trusted to realise what those words mean?
§ 3.29 p.m.
Sir J. WARD LAW-MILNE
Again, it is extremely difficult for me to do more than repeat in somewhat different language what I have already said to the House. I quite agree that in many ways it would be more desirable to have a Bill that introduced some form of Roman or Scottish law. No one who knew my origin would expect me to suggest that that would not be a better system. But what hon. Members seem to forget is that that matter has already been considered for a long period and decided by a Joint Select Committee of both Houses. It is as the result of the recommendation of that Committee that this Bill has been introduced. I do not put it higher than to say that the Joint Select Committee suggested that a Bill on these lines was worthy of the attention of Parliament. They did not go any further than that. But it is forgotten by those who suggest that we ought to have a hard-and-fast rule that that matter has already been considered. There are two distinct schools of thought on the question of whether the powers of the court should be limited 2089 or not. There are those who consider that the court should be limited in all kinds of ways and others who are prepared to accept the view that there should be no limitation at all. The House must decide in which way it wants the Bill to work.
The Standing Committee upstairs came to the definite conclusion, I think unanimously, that the court ought to have complete discretion and that point was also brought out in the evidence before the Joint Select Committee. All these Amendments come back to the point: Are we to give discretion to the court or not? Holding the view that I hold, and in view of what has been said by the Joint Select Committee and the opinion of the Standing Committee upstairs, I can only repeat that the House must decide whether it is going to give the court discretion or not. If it is, then these limiting Amendments must be resisted. In conclusion I wish to make an appeal to hon. Members. Having some experience in these matters I know that there are many genuine opponents of the Bill and some who, perhaps, are not so genuine. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] There is nothing out of order in that statement. Some men may have definite opinions and others may have less definite opinions.
§ Mr. BAILEY
"Definite" and "genuine" are different words and if the hon. Member will substitute "definite" for "genuine" there can be no complaint.
§ Sir J. WARDLAW-MILNE
If the hon. Member will show me in a dictionary that there is any difference which affects what I have been saying, I shall be glad to change the word to suit him. This is the only opportunity which this Bill has of getting through. If hon. Members feel that it ought to be passed in its present form I would ask them to allow us to get to the Report stage before four o'clock. If they do not feel strongly that the Bill ought to be thrown out altogether, they ought to allow us to get past this question of the discretion of the courts. All the Amendments which we have discussed for the last couple of hours have borne on that one point, and the House, I think, has already shown its feeling that the court ought to be given full discretion.
§ 3.33 p.m.
May I add my voice to that of the hon. Member for 2090 Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) in appealing to hon. Members. We understand that there are some people who do not want this Bill. I ask them to let it go to a Division and to vote against it. That would be the fairest way. This Bill is backed by every women's association in the country and the women constituents of hon. Members feel very keenly about it. Therefore, I would ask them to give us a chance to get it—to vote against it if they will but not to obstruct it.
I ask hon. Members to remember the thousands of women who have helped to send them here and who want this Bill. At least be gallant enough to give us a chance of having a decision on the Bill.
§ 3.35 p.m.
§ Mr. TURTON
I am sure that everybody would agree with the Noble Lady if they were also in entire agreement with her as to the correctness of the provisions of the Bill, but many of us think we should see if the provisions are really satisfactory and, indeed, what the noble Lady herself desires. I am not in agreement with the mover of the Amendment as to all the words that he wants to take out. My hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) said that we should give the Court a wide discretion. That seems to be one of the things we are not doing by these words. The words to which I object are the two words "or otherwise". The Sub-section is drafted in this form: It says that the court is to have regard to certain matters, and then it says that it may also take into consideration any other matter that it may think relevant. That is an entirely different thing. Why should we have the Chancery Court turned into a court of ancient history inquiring into the private life of every applicant?
§ Sir J. WITHERS
The hon. Member knows very well that in many cases in 2091 Chancery Chambers the past history of persons is gone into in very great detail, and if he will come with me on any Monday morning to the Chancery Division, he can prove what I say.
§ Mr. TURTON
I agree. I occasionally go into the rather holy portals of the Chancery Court, and I find there some details in regard to the murky past being dealt with, but is that a reason why we should have it in this Bill? If you put in that the court shall have regard to the conduct of everybody else, that is an invitation to whomsoever appears for the other side at once to probe into the past of the applicant, and to make out that the mere fact that he was convicted, say, of being cruel to a dog 30 years ago is a reason why he should not get reasonable maintenance under the Bill. I will go into the Lobby with the hon. Member if he will agree to cut out the words "or otherwise" and leave in the remaining words of the Sub-section. The real point is this, that if you leave these two words in, the Judge will not be able to stop counsel going into something that appears to him quite irrelevant and immaterial about the past conduct of the applicant. If you take those words out, you will leave the Court a wide discretion to allow counsel to argue as they wish, if it is relevant. I ask, in all seriousness, the promoters of this Bill to accept the Amendment in so far as cutting out the words "or otherwise," for I think that they weaken the otherwise excellent Subsection, and I ask the House to reject the rest of the Amendment.
§ 3.41 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
As I was responsible for introducing the Subsection in this form, I think it is desirable that I should say a word. The Bill, as originally introduced, contained a most unsatisfactory Sub-section to express the intention of the promoters. It was to this effect:The court may refuse to make an order in favour of any person on any ground which the court thinks sufficient to disentitle him to the benefit of an order.I did not feel that that would do, and I understood that the purpose of the sponsors of the Bill was to give the court that discretion which they so constantly and wisely exercise in taking into consideration everything which the court 2092 thinks proper. The Clause is drawn with that object, and I venture to think, if I may say so with modesty, that it is a good Clause to carry out that purpose. If the House thinks that the court should be restricted in these matters, it will reject the Clause, but I want the House to understand the precise purpose for which it was drafted, namely, to give the court full and unfettered discretion to determine what it thought necessary to inquire into.
§ 3.42 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
The more members of the legal profession try to explain anything in this House, the more difficult it is for me to understand what it all means. It is well, therefore, that a layman should be permitted to say a word or two. My difficulty about the Amendment is that it limits the power of the court to make inquiries, but quite frankly, my trouble with the whole of this problem is that there will be an inquiry made by everybody on behalf of everybody, and everybody interested will be entitled to reply and question, except the one person who ought to be there, and his lips are closed for good. I should have thought that the Attorney-General and the hon. Member promoting this Bill would have told us something about that. The hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) has left his seat for the moment. I think he has already touched upon the issue.
I say once again that I am definitely in favour of something being done to promote a Bill in this Parliament to deal with the difficulties which have arisen; but if the Government themselves do not undertake the task, I can see no hope of a private Member's Bill achieving the object which we seem all to have in view. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has been good enough to sit all day long listening to the debate, and I think he has helped the Committee very much in trying to shape the Bill; hut, as a layman, I say once again that the more we have tried to amend this Bill the less, it seems to me, it will achieve the objects it has in view. We have not gone through more than half of Clause 1 so far, and I want to tell the promoters of the Bill that, as far as I am concerned, I have not deliberately done anything to prevent the passing of this Measure. I will say, with a little conceit, that I know the way 2093 to do it when it requires to be done, but I have not done it to-day. I want to appeal again to the Attorney-General to note what little progress has been made with the Bill and how difficult it is to pass a law that will achieve the object which everybody seems to have in view; that he will take note of what has happened in the Debate to-day and see if the Government cannot take up this problem and bring forward a Bill that will give Parliament the right to determine what it wants to do with this important issue.
§ Mr. DAVIES
If the Government introduced a similar Measure we would land ourselves exactly where we are now.
§ 3.46 p.m.
§ Mr. McKEAG
I suggest that the House cannot very well accept the Amendment in view of the previous proceedings to-day. It will be within the recollection of the House that Amendments which were moved by the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Macmillan) and the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) to Sub-section (1) were considered unnecessary because of the wording of Sub-section (2). If this Amendment be accepted, it will entirely destroy the substance of the case which was put forward for the rejection of the (hon. Member's Amendments. In view of that, I suggest that, having rejected two Amendments because it was understood the words in Sub-section (2) covered the ground, the House should not now accept an Amendment which would entirely destroy the substance of the argument which caused the House to reject the previous Amendments.
§ 3.48 p.m.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I am sorry that the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) is not present at the moment, because I wanted to congratulate her on her new views against anything that might be open to the faintest suspicion of obstructive tactics. I remember in a Committee upstairs when the Measure which is down later on the Order Paper—
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
It is to come on soon, and I hope to see the proofs of repentance on that occasion. We are told in this Sub-section that we must give the most unlimited and absolutely omniscient discretion to the judges. Nobody has greater respect for His Majesty's Chancery Judges than I have, but is it fair to unload upon them a discretion and a power that should only be asked of the Almighty? That is what it comes to. How can they judge of the conduct of the applicant in relation to the testator? It strikes me as a task too difficult and unfair to ask them to undertake. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. M. Jones) said that the question which would arise was whether a testator should unload the support of his children on to the ratepayers, because somebody had to keep them. All who die without leaving any property might be said to do that, but I do not think they do, for they have given their children a chance in life; but as that problem has appealed to the judicious intelligence of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) it is possible that it might become a question with the court, and the court in that case might apply a sort of means test. The court might say that the other relatives who were getting the estate were so well off that they could well afford to pay something to the support of this member of the family whose conduct, possibly, had led to his own disinheritance.
The burden of discretion which is thrown upon the court is a very heavy one, and I think it would be better if we limited the scope of the inquiry that will have to be made into these cases. It will be similar to the inquiries which are made into divorce cases or, as the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers) has said, into the guardianship of infants. There will be a terrible amount of investigation. Therefore, I think the scope of the investigation might be limited, because if it is not a substantial proportion of the estate will be dissipated in the costs of the proceedings. I have a horror of litigation. I presided yesterday at a meeting where I had to explain to those who appointed me to that position that we had spent £68,000 over litigation, which we had won, and 2095 that we should recover only a portion of that expenditure. It was not our fault, but that of an inveterate aggressor, because we fought the same people 20 years ago and took a very large sum from them then. I was very sorry for all the people concerned, and I am very sorry for all who will be rolled up in the toils of this Measure. It has been well called a "Solicitors' Endowment Bill," because that is what it comes to. The hon. Member for Cambridge University suggests that counsel will benefit too. I have no doubt they will get their share, and so I will include counsel, and call it a "Bill for the Endowment of the Legal Profession," a provision for securing that in one walk of human life there shall be no unemployment. I am averse to extending the inquiries, and think it would be as well to restrict the Clause by limiting the investigation before the judges to the question, Has the prodigal son who is complaining that he has been disinherited done something which really justified the action of the testator in leaving him out? Of course, it may be that the testator's view and the judge's view will differ, and if so we are driven to the position that the judge must be allowed to decide.
§ 3.54 p.m.
§ Mr. W. S. MORRISON
If we accept the view of the promoters of the Bill that the way to achieve its object is to give the widest discretion to the courts, then the House will do well to reject the Amendment. But those who feel with me some dubiety about the wisdom of charging the courts with this very wide discretion must, I think, support the Amendment. The trouble about these cases in which there is a dispute in a family is that they disclose, frequently, the very reverse of that spirit which obtains in the great majority of families.
§ All the human kindness which in the ordinary family illumines the life of its members is soured and turned, in these few cases, into a spirit that is the reverse of beneficent and is indeed vindictive. In those circumstances, we are not doing the best service to the judiciary to extend their discretion beyond what is humanly possible. I yield to nobody in my admiration of His Majesty's judges, but I do not think that we are doing the right thing in praising their omniscience and fairness and at the same time unloading upon them a discretion which it would be very difficult for any human being to exercise.
§ The older I get the more difficult I find it accurately to judge the motives of human conduct. Very often actions that appear to be of a disgraceful nature, upon wider knowledge only make one excuse them and find justification for them. I can see the point quite well of asking Judges to look at the relations of the person with the testator; that is a very proper thing if you permit the courts to interfere in testamentary dispositions, but to enlarge it, as this Bill does, is to make the Judges inquire into matters not of law and not actually of fact, but to make them psychologists of an abstruse character, gifted with powers of mind which very few people of this earth have of accurately weighing up the motives that characterise that strange thing which we call human conduct. For those reasons, while I agree with the logical case of the promoters of the Bill, to give a wide discretion to the Judges, I submit that in this ease it is too wide, and that we ought to limit it in the way that has been suggested.
§ Question put, "That the word 'and' be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 33; Noes, 90.2097
|Division No. 224.]||AYES.||[3.58 p.m.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Greene, William P. C.||Reid, William Allan (Darby)|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Hanley, Dennis A.||Rickards, George William|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||North, Edward T.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Pike, Cecil F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Mr. Maitland and Mr. W. S. Morrison.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Banfield, John William|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Batey, Joseph|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Bernays, Robert||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cape, Thomas||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Remer, John R.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke Now'gton)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Sandeman, sir A. N. Stewart|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)|
|Copeland, Ida||Leckie, J. A.||Spens, William Patrick|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Daggar, George||Llewellin, Major John J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Denville, Alfred||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Dickie, John P.||Lunn, William||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Dobbie, William||McEntee, Valentine L.||Thorne, William James|
|Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C.||McKeag, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Edwards, Charles||McKie, John Hamilton||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Magnay, Thomas||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Goff, Sir Park||Maxton, James||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||West, F. R.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Wilmot, John|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Penny, Sir George|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Radford, E. A.||Sir John Withers and Mr. Grimston.|
§ It being after Four of the Clock, and objection being taken to further Proceedings, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.
§ Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered upon Friday next.2098
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.