HC Deb 13 May 1960 vol 623 cc838-9

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

2.23 p.m.

Mr. Edward du Cann (Taunton)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

As the House will be aware, the Bill implements the eighth Report of the Law Reform Committee. It is supported by all three parties in the House, one of which is, however, absent today, and has very wide support outside the House. It would be less than courteous if, in moving its Third Reading, I did not express my gratitude to all those on both sides of the House who have supported me and helped me with the passage of the Bill so far.

If the Bill finally comes through Parliament it may benefit incorporated charities, local authorities, city guild companies, universities, foreign corporations active in the United Kingdom, building societies, colleges, and schools. The list is very long. I hope that the House will think it a useful Measure and, as it is a non-partisan Measure, that a proper use has been made of private Members' time, especially if one draws No. 20 in the Ballot.

I should like to think that what the Law Reform Committee called "a medieval rule" can be in due time abolished by this Measure. Lord Chief Justice Cockburn went a great deal further when he said that the present rule was a "relic of barbarous antiquity." At any rate, the Bill is an attempt to light a dark corner. I hope that the House will give it a Third Reading.

2.26 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I should like to congratulate the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) on his choice of subject and on what looks like being success in bringing the Bill on to the Statute Book. I should also like to congratulate those hon. Members on both sides of the House who have supported it and added their names to it.

I entirely agree with what the hon. Member has said about the contents of the Bill. I note with pleasure, as I am sure we all do in the House, that effect is being given to an obviously good proposal of the law Reform Committee. Speaking for myself, and, I am sure, for everyone else in the House, I think it rather a pity that we cannot more often give effect to these non-controversial proposals, the working out of which represents a good deal of trouble by busy professional men whose sole object is to simplify and modernise the law and get rid of the unnecessary difficulties and obsolete hindrances which it still contains.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.