HL Deb 14 July 1898 vol 61 cc891-4

Amendment proposed— Line 7, after 'marriage' leave out 'between a man and his deceased wife's sister.'"—(Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal.)

Question put.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed— Line 9, after 'provision' insert 'between a man and his deceased wife's sister, both being domiciled therein.'"—(Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal.)


My Lords, I am not going to put the House to the trouble of dividing on this question. I only say, by way of protest, that I do not think the provision here is adequate for the purpose for which it is designed. In the first place, I am not prepared to say that the law of "domicile" is the same in all the Colonies, or in all parts of Canada, as is recognised in England. I think there ought to be some definition of "domicile." I am particularly interested in this question because I see my noble and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy here. The other night, as your Lordships will remember, nothing wag more touching in my noble Friend's speech than the very interesting description of a gentleman coming home to this country and finding that he could not inherit land here. The phrase "coming home," which occurred frequently in my noble Friend's speech, rather suggested that domicile is a thing that can be changed, but, as your Lordships are aware, domicile means a permanent home. The domicile which is contemplated by this section ought to be defined in some more definite manner than the Amendment proposes. I would suggest to my noble Friend behind me, who is in charge of the Bill [Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal], that he should take counsel with my noble and learned Friend [Lord James of Hereford] as to defining "domicile," which may be a different thing in different Colonies, and which, at all events, requires definition.


My Lords, the advice of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has already been taken, because my noble Friend Lord Strathcona and myself have conferred on this point. I certainly would prefer, if my noble and learned Friend will allow me, that this Amendment should stand without definition. To define "domicile" is impossible. You must determine each case as it arises on the facts of the case. As Lord Bramwell once said— If you asked me to define what is day and what is night, I could not do it, but I can always tell you whether it is day or whether it is night. So, in the same way, the question, when it arises in our courts, whether at the time of the marriage the parties to it had been domiciled, can always be determined without difficulty; and if the tribunal consisted of my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor there would always be a certainty that justice would be done on this question of domicile.


Notwithstanding that compliment, by which my noble and learned Friend sought to get rid of any opposition, if you are going to make exceptional legislation on behalf of persons whose homes are in other parts of the world, I should like to have it defined in such a way that any tribunal would be able to give reasonable ground for the faith that is in them.

Question put.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed— Page 2, line 1, leave out from 'Act' to the end of the clause."—(Lord Stanley of Alderley.)


My Lords, my object in moving this Amendment is to avoid the inconsistency which will exist if this Bill passes in its present form. The Bill proposes that these marriages shall be valid in this country, but at the same time it makes them invalid fiscally for the children of these marriages. If you are going to do an act of grace to the Colonies it should be complete; it is an ungracious act to extend a favour and then withdraw it with the other hand. There is no reason to suppose that any large sum of money will be involved, and I think it would be much better if the Treasury were to forego any claims in this matter. I therefore move the omission of the words— And no claim by the Crown for duties leviable on or with reference to death, and before the passing of this Act due and payable, and no payment of or discharge for such duties before the passing of this Act duly made or given, shall be prejudicially affected hereby.


My Lords, the promoters of the Bill cannot accept this Amendment. We cannot dispossess the Crown of duties which may become due, and therefore this safeguard must, so far as we are concerned, remain in the Bill.

Question put.

Amendment negatived.

Question put— That clause 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Motion agreed to.

Question put— That clause 2 stand part of the Bill.

Motion agreed to, and Bill re-committed to the Standing Committee.