HL Deb 06 February 1843 vol 66 cc196-7
Lord Denman

said, that during the course of last Session he had introduced a bill for amending the Law of Evidence, by substituting affirmations for oaths in certain cases. That bill had, after having been read a second time in their Lordships' House, been referred to a select committee. That committee had repeatedly sat; had come to certain resolutions; had sent down the bill to their Lordships in an amended state—in which state it had been agreed to by their Lordships, and had been sent down to the House of Commons. It had been sent down to that House at a very late period of the Session, and owing to the opposition of certain parties in that House, it had not been passed; it had not even been brought under discussion. Under these circumstances, he thought he was justified in again presenting the same bill to their Lordships in the same state in which it had been sent down to the House of Commons last year, and he also thought that their Lordships would not think it necessary to enter into discussion on the subject, although, should their Lordships think it necessary, he was perfectly prepared to justify the course he had adopted. He would, therefore, lay the bill on the Table, and move that it be read a first time.

Lord Brougham

said, that with respect to the case of the impediment which had been thrown in the way of the bill of his noble and learned Friend in the other House of Parliament (he spoke of it as a matter of history, and their Lordships might learn from the votes on the Table of the House), that, opposition was not directed against the bill of his noble and learned Friend. But it so happened, that on the same night in which the bill of his noble and learned Friend was to have come on for discussion in the other House, another bill—a bill introduced by his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack—a bill for extending to Ireland the provisions of the English ecclesiastical law, usually known as the Nullum Tempus Bill, was to come on. Of that bill, he himself approved, but he would admit that there was a strenuous opposition to it, and that there were merits in that opposition. Those who had the conducting of that opposition had taken advantage of the forms of the House, and had counted the House out on the night which had been fixed for the debate. His noble Friend's bill, and also all the other bills behind it, had consequently shared its fate; but the opposition had not been directed against the bill of his noble and learned Friend, and he trusted their Lordships would at once consent to its introduction.

The Lord Chancellor

retained the same opinion on the subject which he had expressed last Session.

Bill read a first time.

Adjourned at six o'clock.