HL Deb 04 July 1845 vol 82 cc11-2

Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the 3rd Resolution (see June 3) read.

Lord Brougham

then proposed the Third Resolution affecting the Standing Orders of their Lordships' House which he had submitted to the House yesterday, and the consideration of which had been postponed until to-day. The noble and learned Lord read the Resolution.

The Earl of Wicklow

said, he objected to this Resolution, the effect of which, in his opinion, would be to induce the opponents of railroad projects to defer their opposition until the Bills came into their Lordships' House, under the expectation that they would then obtain their casts. He believed that this Resolution would not only prevent opposition to railway schemes in the other House, but that it would have the effect of bringing that opposition exclusively into their Lordships' House, and eventually a collision might ensue between the two Houses. Supposing a railway company refused to pay costs under this Resolution, had the House the power of levying them? They had not. They might recommend the company to pay costs, and in the event of non-compliance they might refuse to pass their Bill; but he thought such a course on the part of the House would be most unfair, for if a Committee of the House considered the project advantageous to the country generally, it would be most unjust to the community to reject it on such grounds.

The Duke of Richmond

If the Committee recommend costs to be paid to certain opposing parties, what so easy as to put a clause in the Bill for that purpose?

Lord Brougham

said, the House had no power of levying money; but in the case of their judicial proceedings, they were in the constant habit of ordering parties to pay costs. If a person applied to that House for a divorce from his wife, the House might require him to allow her an annuity. He remembered a case in which a person suing for a divorce had offered to allow his wife 50l. a year; but the House refused to pass the Bill unless he allowed 150l. a year. What could be easier than to say to parties who brought in Railway Bills, "If you wish to carry this Bill, we think justice requires that you should pay the costs of parties who oppose it?" He would have no objection to allow the Resolution to stand over until Monday, in order that noble Lords might have time to consider the subject. He believed that this Resolution would afford great protection to private individuals; for, if railway projectors were aware that by the Standing Orders of that House they might have to pay the expenses of opposition, they would be disarmed of that power which they at present exercised with the utmost possible oppression. The companies frequently said, "We have a heavy purse—oppose us if you dare;" but this Resolution, if adopted, would prevent them from using those threats to deter their opponents from proceeding.

The following Amendments were then moved:— To add after the Word 'Parties' the following words—'incurred in the Proceedings before this House, or its Committee;' and at the End of the said Resolution the following Words—?'That where any Committee has directed Expellees to be paid by any such Party, it shall report such Direction to the House specially, with the Circumstances inducing them so to direct.

Debate on Resolution so amended, adjourned to Monday.