HL Deb 09 August 1888 vol 330 cc70-1

said, he rose to call attention to the expediency of codifying certain branches of the Criminal Law, and to present a Bill for codifying the law relating to the sale of goods. Whatever opinion might be entertained as to the practicability of the general codification of our law, experience had proved that the codification of certain branches of it was both possible and desirable. Their Lordships and the country had had experience of a code passed some years ago of the laws relating to bills of exchange and negotiable instruments. That code, he believed, had worked in the most satisfactory manner, and it had been adopted by more than one of our own Colonies. He believed, also, that a proposal had been laid before the Congress of the United States for the adoption of a precisely similar code. It was desirable that the same principle of codification should be applied to other branches of the law. He had, therefore, brought before their Lordships a Bill codifying the law relating to the sale of goods. If anything could be done to codify the law at all, it could only be effected by taking special subjects and devoting to them that minute care and attention which was only possible when isolated subjects were dealt with. The Bill had been drafted by the same learned Gentleman who was now the County Court Judge of Birmingham, and who was the author of the Bill codifying the law relating to bills of exchange. He had sufficiently examined it to be able to say—though he could not pledge himself to every detail—that the work was very satisfactorily done, and well worthy of the consideration of Parliament. He introduced it now, not because he proposed to proceed with it during the present Sittings, but for the purpose of making it public and obtaining that criticism of the Profession which was a most import- ant aid to the satisfactory passing of a measure of this description. After the Bill had been read a first time, he hoped that the assistance of the Profession, which, on such a matter, was never asked in vain, would enable their Lordships during the ensuing Session to make a practical effort to pass the Bill into law.


said, your Lordships should be thankful to the noble and learned Lord for the care he has taken in relation to a very difficult, and, in some particulars, an obscure branch of the law. The noble and learned Lord has wisely adopted the plan of codifying the law on one subject at a time. The more ambitious plan is unsuited to our legislative requirements, and consequently fails. I may mention that it is to the noble Lord we owe the successful Code of the law as to bills, notes, cheques, and other negotiable instruments; and I anticipate that his present attempt will be equally successful.

Bill for codifying the law relating to the sale of goods.—Presented (The Lord HERSCHELL).

Bill read 1a. (No. 267.)

House adjourned during pleasure at 6.10 P.M.

House resumed by The Lord KINTORE (E. Kintore) at 3.31 A.M.

Several Bills brought from the Commons.

House adjourned at a quarter before Four o'clock, A.M., till half past One o'clock, P.M.