§ House in Committee (according to order).
§ Clauses 1 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.1327
§ Clause 7 (Trustee may insure buildings).
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord HALSBURY)
said, it appeared to him that some Amendments were necessary in the drafting of the clause. He expressed a doubt whether the Statute of Limitations should apply to cases of gross negligence on the part of trustees, and whether in that respect the clause had not gone too far.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
said, he should be willing to accept any necessary alterations in the drafting of the clause, but he must dissent from the view taken by the Lord Chancellor in reference to the application of the Statute of Limitations to the cases of negligent trustees, who had not been guilty of fraud. He would, however, carefully consider any Amendment which the Lord Chancellor might place upon the Paper with regard to the point.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 8 (Statute of limitation may be pleaded by trustees) agreed to.
§ Clause 9 (Extent of Act's application).
§ LORD HALSBURY
said, he might mention that the Rule Committee of Judges had power to settle the list of investments for funds in Court, and that it might be desirable to await the determination of the list upon which the Judges were then engaged, and which might render the greater part of the clause unnecessary. With regard to the Sub-section (f), he thought it would be better to include all the inscribed stocks of Colonial Governments, so as to avoid applications to the Courts, which were most expensive to the parties and liable to do injury to any securities which might not be approved.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (The Marquess of SALISBURY)
said, he viewed the matter from the point of view of a layman and not from the legal point of view. He stated, with all respect, that in this matter of dealing with trust property lay as well as legal opinion should be considered. He thought that the Judges had been somewhat extreme—he might almost say superstitious—in the restraints they had imposed on investment. Although it was true that that caution on the part of the Courts might here and there be of ad- 1328 vantage in the interests of safety, yet at the same time he thought that some trusts were exposed to loss. He should, therefore, be disposed to say that where there was reasonable ground for considering the investment to be safe, they ought to think, not only of the few persons affected by the investment if it should fail, but of the persons who would be injured if they were excluded from the benefit of it. He protested against the doctrine that they ought to be guided by the opinion of the Judges exclusively in this matter. He was in favour of very considerable latitude in the investment of trust funds, because he believed that very great benefit would accrue, especially in these times, when persons could not afford to sacrifice the margin of advantageous investment.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
was understood to refer to the difficulties surrounding the action of trustees and to generally approve the view just stated by the noble Marquess. He expressed the hope that nothing would be done to discourage investment in Colonial Stock.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
said, he was disposed to share the lay view of the noble Marquess. He was most unwilling to leave this matter to a general order of the Courts. It was a matter in which both Houses of Parliament were just as able to judge as the Judges; and, therefore, he should prefer the determination of the question by Parliament. Sub-section (f) arose in this way. It was in the present form in the Scotch Investment Act of 1884. The Scotch trustees had been empowered to invest in Colonial Stocks; and, therefore, it was thought desirable that the English trustees should possess the same power. Then the question had to be considered whether power could be given to invest in inscribed stock of every British Colony without any control. This applied not only to existing inscribed stock, but to those stocks which might hereafter be inscribed. After full consideration of the question, the Committee of the House came to the conclusion that they could not recommend unlimited power to invest in every inscribed stock of every British Colony. Then there was the further question whether it was possible to lay down any guiding line which should enable a distinction to be drawn between those stocks which would be safe and those which would not. The Com- 1329 mittee could not see their way to suggest any method of discriminating in the matter.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Remaining Clauses agreed to.
§ The Report of the Amendment to be received on Tuesday the 19th instant.