THE LORD CHANCELLOR,
in presenting a Bill for amending the European Assurance Society Arbitration Acts, 1872 and 1873, said, that as the Bill would have to be brought before the Standing Orders Committee and pursue the course which was usual in connection with Private Bills, it was unnecessary for him to detain their Lordships by any lengthy explanation. The European Assurance Company failed some years ago, and there were involved in it by amalgamation as many as 44 other Companies. The affairs of all these Companies had to be considered, adjusted, and wound up. For this purpose an Act of Parliament was passed authorizing the appointment of an Arbitrator. The Lord Chancellor for the time being was empowered to appoint a successor in the event of the Arbitrator's death, and any such successor was to be chosen among those who had been Judges of the superior Courts of Law and Equity. Under this power, he (the Lord Chancellor) was appointed the first Arbitrator; and afterwards, on his accession to the Woolsack, Lord Westbury was appointed to succeed him. Lord Westbury died in 1873, and the Lord Chancellor appointed Lord Romilly in his place. Lord Romilly died in 1874, and it was now necessary to appoint a successor to him. The amount of business still to be done was both large and irksome, and among those qualified under the original Act there was none who could be found to carry on the work. It had, therefore, become necessary to enlarge the area under which the choice of an Arbitrator could be made; and the matter was very important, inasmuch as, although the past Arbitrators had from time to time pronounced opinions on the cases which had come before them, all that had to be clone in the shape of making an award still remained to be clone. Inasmuch as some difference of opinion on certain points had been expressed by those who had acted as Arbitrators 1046 in this matter, it was thought desirable that, in the event of the Arbitrators differing from the decisions already given, there should be a single appeal allowed in certain cases to the Court of Appeal in Chancery, in order that a conflict of decisions might be prevented. He had defined these cases in a Schedule to the Bill. With that explanation, he should merely present the Bill to their Lordships, without asking them to read it a first time on that occasion.
§ Bill for amending the European Assurance Society Arbitration Acts, 1872 and 1873, presented by the Lord Chancellor, and referred to the Examiners.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Seven o'clock, to Thursday next, half past Ten o'clock.