§ Commons amendments to Lords amendments and Commons reasons for disagreeing to one of the amendments made by the Lords considered (according to order).
§ Commons amendments to Lords amendments agreed to.
§ THE MARQUESS OF RIPON
asked their Lordships to waive the Amendment in Clause 25, to which the Commons disagreed. The clause as originally drawn gave power to the Commissioners, "if they think fit," at the instance of any party to the proceedings before them, 9 to state a case in writing for the opinion of a Superior Court upon any question of law. Their Lordships, however, struck out the words "may also, if they think fit," and inserted "shall," making the direction absolute instead of discretionary. To this Amendment the Commons disagreed, giving as their reasons that the Amendment would give rise to vexatious and costly litigation, which might he made use of to render the Bill inoperative; and secondly, because the matter might safely be left to the discretion of the Commissioners. The Government had been willing to accept the Amendment with some alterations; but both sides of the other House were agreed in treating it as inexpedient. He certainly thought that the absolute power of appeal would give an immense advantage to the Railway Companies, who possessed a power of the purse with which it would be vain for an individual to contend. He thought, further, that it was not clear whether this power did not extend to arbitration cases.
§ Moved, not to insist on the Amendment in Clause 25 to which the Commons have disagreed.—(The Lord President.)
§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
said, he was sorry he could not agree in the course which the Lord President proposed, and which was not that which had the sanction of the Lord Chancellor on a former occasion, for the noble and learned Lord supported the Amendment which made the granting an appeal compulsory. As to the argument about the power of the purse possessed by Railway Companies, if it applied at all it applied universally, and a Railway Company ought not to be allowed an appeal on any occasion whatever. Under these circumstances, he hoped their Lordships would insist on their Amendment.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, it was true that, on a former occasion, he gave an opinion that it was desirable there should be a right of appeal in all cases; but it would be an exaggeration of that opinion to say that he would accept the responsibility of advising their Lordships to resist the other House on such a matter. He would not advise their Lordships to differ from the Commons, though perhaps if he had been in the House of Commons he should 10 have advised that House not to differ from their Lordships.
§ LORD CAIRNS
thought it most undesirable that the appeal should be left to the discretion of the Commissioners. One man might grant it in every case, while another, resenting the notion that he could be wrong, would endeavour invariably to refuse it. He urged that the security to be given for costs would prevent improper appeals, and would propose the insertion of words which in arbitration cases would leave an appeal to the discretion of the Commissioners.
advocated adherence to the Amendment, on the ground that if the Commissioners had the power of refusing appeals they might incur discredit by being supposed to exercise it unduly.
§ On Question, Whether to insist? their Lordships divided:—Contents 79; Not-Contents 63: Majority 16.
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
§ An amendment made to the said amendment; and a Committee appointed to prepare reasons to be offered to the Commons for the Lords insisting on their amendment: The Committee to meet on Thursday next, at a quarter before Five o'clock.