HL Deb 09 July 1878 vol 241 cc1052-3

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, he did not bring it forward in his official capacity, and it was not a Government measure; but it had passed through the other House of Parliament without opposition. The Attorney General had given some consideration to the matter, and allowed him to say that he did not consider the Bill, or anything in it, objectionable. The facts of the case were these—that under the existing law, as declared in a decision of the High Court of Justice in January last in the case of Mullilan v. Florence, an innkeeper or hotel-keeper might retain property which had been left by a defaulting customer, but could not sell it. For instance, if a horse were left with an innkeeper, it might cost him a great deal for its keep, and he could not recoup himself by selling it. Railway Companies were empowered by their bye-laws to act in a very different manner with property left in their charge, and even with articles found in their carriages. The object of the present Bill was simply to do an act of bare justice, and to place the law on a more satisfactory footing. The provisions of the Bill were contained in one clause, which set forth that an hotel or innkeeper should have the right to sell goods or animals left in his house or on his premises, where the owner was indebted to him; but no sale could take place until six weeks after the property had been so left—the surplus, after the debt and expenses had been met, to be paid on demand to the owner. It was also provided that no sale should take place until a description of the property, with a notice of the intended sale, had been advertised in one London and one country newspaper at least one month before the time of sale. He believed the safeguards in the Bill were ample, and he asked their Lordships to give it a second reading.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Friday next.