§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD BRAMWELL
, in moving that the Bill be read a second time, said, that it was in substance the same Bill which had been read a second time by their Lordships last Session. It was the object of the measure, not to alter the Law of Arbitration, but to consolidate it in the same manner as the law with regard to bills of exchange had been consolidated. For his own part he did not look upon consolidation as being of much use to the public, although to lawyers there could be no doubt of its utility. The public were usually acquainted in a general way with the law upon any subject, and if, any unusual case arose the more prudent would consult a solicitor rather than look to Consolidation Acts. At the same time, if a consolidated law were well expressed and correct, it certainly was for the good of all. Considerable trouble had been taken in preparing this Bill—which had its origin in the Chambers of Commerce—by Mr. 221 Macdonell, a gentleman well known at the Bar as the author of a book on Awards. The Bill had been also revised by the gentleman who drew up the rules of the High Court; assistance had been sought from Mr. Russell, the author of the well-known work on Awards; and he might say that he should not have presented the Bill to their Lordships unless he had taken every care to make it worthy of their acceptance. He hoped that the second reading of the Bill would be taken then; the Committee stage he did not propose to take till after Easter, by which time the Bill would have been printed and circulated.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Bramwell.)
said, that, having for 11 years drawn up every Reference Order in the Court of Queen's Bench at Nisi Prius, he was glad to say that no complaint was ever made of a delay or failure of justice by his mistake; and he attributed that to his always having had the counsel and their briefs together, so as to settle the terms of agreement whilst fresh in their minds, and so as to add anything which might seem to be overlooked. He was glad to see in Clause 38 that even a mistake could be corrected. He found in Clause 61 that there was a power given to the arbitrator to admit certain evidence, without oath or affirmation; but no power to punish anyone giving such evidence under any circumstances. He found in Clause 80 that an arbitrator could not sue fees, though he had a lien for them, and he could attach for non-payment; but those not liable to attachment ought to be subject to be sued. In Schedule 1 a power was given to proceed de die in diem; but it ought to be provided that an arbitrator should proceed at once, and, if unable to do so, give up, by consent of parties, to some other arbitrator. It ought also to be provided that any person refusing to consent to arbitration should bear any extra expense thereby incurred. The arbitrator, having to state a case for the Court, would generally be of the Legal Profession.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord HERSCHELL)
said, he should not oppose the second reading of the Bill, though he had not been able to give it such close attention as he could have wished. Of course, in a matter of this kind everything 222 depended upon the accuracy with which the law was stated, and the Law of Arbitration must be admitted to be one of considerable difficulty. In the interval which his noble and learned Friend had suggested before the Committee stage, all persons who took an interest in the subject could examine the measure and offer criticisms upon it. It might turn out, if there were many of such criticisms, that it would be better to refer the Bill to a Select Committee to deal with those criticisms and embody them, so far as they were just, in the provisions of the Bill; but he did not wish to speak decisively at the present time.
§ Motion agreed, to; Bill read 2a accordingly.