§ Amendments reported (according to order).
§ Clause 4 (Newspaper reports of proceedings of public meetings and of certain Bodies and persons privileged).
§ LORD HERSCHELL
said, he proposed to make an Amendment to this clause in order to define more clearly what a "public meeting" meant. The Amendment was that—For the purpose of this section 'public meeting' shall mean any meeting lawfully held for the furtherance or discussion of any matter of public concern, whether the admission thereto be general or restricted.905 It seemed to him these words would cover every kind of meeting intended to be covered by the clause.
Amendment moved, at end of clause to add—
For the purpose of this section 'public meeting' shall mean any meeting bonâ fide held for a lawful purpose, for the furtherance or discussion of any matter of public concern, whether the admission thereto be general or rostricted."—(The Lord Herschell.)
§ LORD BRAMWELL
said, he was under the impression that this Amendment would diminish the privilege which already existed.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
said, this clause only dealt with the case of public meetings which were not now privileged, and this Amendment was intended as a restriction on a privilege which for the first time this section conferred.
THE EARL OF MILLTOWN
said, he must express his regret that the words "public benefit" were not retained.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord HALSBURY)
said, he had been quite content with the words "public benefit," and he did not think the words had been improved upon.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 5 (Consolidation of actions).
Amendment moved, to add, at the end of the Clause,—
In a consolidated action under this section the jury shall assess the whole amount of the damages (if any), in one sum, but a separate verdict shall be taken for or against each defendant in the same way as if the actions consolidated had been tried separately, and if the jury shall have found a verdict against the defendant or defendants in more than one of the actions so consolidated they shall proceed to apportion the amount of damages which they shall have so found between and against the said last-mentioned defendents, and the Judge at the trial, if he awards to the plaintiff the costs of the action, shall thereupon make such order as he shall deem just for the apportionment of such costs between and against such defendants."—(The Lord Monkswell.)
§ LORD BRAMWELL
said, he objected to the idea of giving damages in a lump sum. In an action for libel, damages were given, not according to the actual pecuniary loss the plaintiff could show, but in respect of the whole circumstances of the ease—e.g., if a malicious outrage had been committed upon the plaintiff large damages were given though he had not sustained sixpenny worth of injury. It could not be right or reason- 906 able that a lump sum should be given in that case. He thought the proposal a mistaken one altogether.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he should support the Amendment, as he considered it the necessary complement of a clause already passed by their Lordships.
§ Amendment agreed to; Clause, as amended, agreed to; Bill to be read 3a on Friday next; and to be printed as amended. (No. 244.)