HC Deb 15 December 1965 vol 722 cc1264-5
40. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister without Portfolio if he will make a detailed statement on the operation of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1938, and on his plans to amend it.

Sir Eric Fletcher

The Inheritance (Family Provision) Act, 1938 is, in general, working satisfactorily. There have been 109 applications to the court under the Act this year. Experience has, however, shown the need for some minor amendments and I hope it will be possible to introduce legislation at an early date to give the court an unlimited discretion to extend the period within which an application must be made and to remove the restrictions on its power to order a lump sum payment.

Mr. Hughes

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, but does he realise that what he calls minor amendments indicate that this Act, passed in 1938, is already antiquated? Will he take steps to make it conform more to the great social, economic and industrial improvements that have taken place in the shorter period since October, 1964?

Sir Eric Fletcher

I would agree with my hon. and learned Friend in what he says about the great improvements that have taken place since October, 1964, but I do not think that those improvements, in themselves, call for any special amendment of this Act.