§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I have to ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading to this Bill which has come from the other House, and which I believe has the support of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack as it had the support of the Government in the other House. The object of the Bill is this: It frequently happens that small sums are due to charities which remain unrecovered because the trustees of the charities have no funds for the purpose of, and are, of course, unwilling to incur expenditure in, enforcing payment of them. The only means now of recovering payment is by proceeding at the instance of the Attorney General, which is a cumbrous and expensive process. This Bill proposes that the Charity Commissioners themselves may, with the sanction of the Attorney General, by a simpler method, take proceedings for the recovery of these sums in any case where the gross annual income of the charity does not, in the opinion of the Commissioners, exceed £20 a year. The only other clause (except one providing for practice and procedure) provides for making Reports of the Charity Commissioners prima facie evidence, leaving it open, of course, to any person to chew that they are not in accordance 'with facts.
Bill read 2a (according to order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.