HC Deb 26 March 1936 vol 310 cc1415-6
89. Mr. HICKS

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the assets of Thomas Harold Godwin, against whom a receiving order was made in the county court of Stafford, holden at Hanley, and Stoke on-Trent, on 21st November, 1932, realised the sum of £4,171 2s. 11d., of which £2,603 8s. 11d. was swallowed up in law charges, trustees' remuneration, auctioneers' and valuers' charges, and sundry other charges; that in two fatal cases under the Workmen's Compensation Act, in which awards were made against the bankrupt, the wife and dependent children in one instance received £259 17s. 3d. as against the award of £692 19s. 4d., and in the other case £263 13s. 7d. against the award of £703 2s. 10d.; and whether he will introduce immediate legislation with the object of limiting the charges of administering a bankrupt's estate for the protection of preferential creditors?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

I am aware of the facts stated in the first two parts of the question. The debtor's affairs were unusually complicated and much litigation has been undertaken in their settlement. The law costs and auctioneer's charges have been subject to taxation by the court and the remuneration of the trustee who was appointed by the creditors was fixed by the committee of inspection who were also appointed by the creditors. The circumstances of this case were exceptional, and in my opinion afford no ground for amending the law.


While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, is he aware that out of an estate of £4,000 over £2,600 has been spent in expenses, and that the widow in the one case, indeed, in both these case s, got less than £300? Does he not think it is a monstrous scandal that law charges should take £2,600 out of 24,000 and that a widow awarded £700 should only get £260? Will he not make some recommendation or issue some regulation to prevent such scandals recurring?


This is an exceptional case, and the action was taken by the creditors. It is for them to decide.

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