HL Deb 29 February 1892 vol 1 cc1463-4

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR: My Lords, the object of this Bill is simply to shorten the language of Acts of Parliament. Your Lordships are aware that of late years it has been the practice in every Act of Parliament to introduce a short title which by Statute is made the mode by which the Act can be cited; and that has been found in practice to be very convenient. But, unfortunately, that was not the practice in Parliamentary drafting until a comparatively short period since; the result of which is that all Acts of Parliament which have been passed before a particular date must now be cited by their long titles—and some of them are very long indeed. We popularly are in the habit of speaking of the Habeas Corpus Act, and the Statute of Fraud, and so forth, which is a convenient and popular mode of citing them; but, if you had to refer to either of those Acts in an Act of Parliament, you would require to have four or five, sometimes six, and, in one case that I have here, twelve lines as the title by which the particular Act is known. Under those circumstances, my Lords, it has been thought well to endeavour to grant to the references to former legislation the same procedure as the modern habit of Parliamentary drafting has introduced; and this Bill, which is called the Short Titles Bill, is simply for the purpose of re-christening the old Acts of Parliament with short titles, whereby they may be referred to in future when new legislation has to be applied to them. I am afraid your Lordships would not find much instruction or information by my reading through this Bill, or making any further observations upon it; because, after having explained its object, the only thing I could do would be to read the old titles of the old Acts of Parliament, and then to read the new titles that have been introduced for the purpose which I have indicated. I am afraid your Lordships would not consider that a profitable employment of your time, and therefore I will now simply move the Second Reading of the Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Chancellor.)

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a (according to Order) and committed to a Committee of the Whole House Tomorrow.