HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 cc586-7
3. Mr. Lipton

asked the Attorney-General if he will introduce legislation to abolish causes of action for breach of promise of marriage and restitution of conjugal rights.

The Attorney-General


Mr. Lipton

Is the Attorney-General aware that as regards breach of promise public opinion would welcome the abolition of this Victorian relic of sex inequality, which is quite out of place in modern conditions? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman also aware that, as regards restitution of conjugal rights, even High Court judges are beginning to talk about the meaningless mumbo-jumbo entailed in that kind of proceeding?

The Attorney-General

As far as the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is concerned, I am not aware of any change in public opinion with regard to breach of promise since he last asked me the same Question on 12th April, 1960. The hon. Gentleman then referred to the inequality between the sexes and I then told him that it is open to a man to sue for breach of promise as well as for a woman. As far as the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question with regard to conjugal rights is concerned, I am aware of the observations made by a county court judge recently. The Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce did not recommend the abolition of that remedy, which is usually a paving step towards securing other relief.