HL Deb 02 July 1907 vol 177 cc494-5

[Second Reading.]

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, as your Lordships were good enough to pass this Bill through all its stages, when I proposed it last year, and as it was also passed some years ago when proposed by Lord Bramwell, it is probably not necessary for me now to detain you for more than a few minutes in moving the Second Reading. Last year it was lost in the other House, not from any opposition, but from lack of time. It has now passed the House of Commons, and the discussions there turned merely on points of detail. The object is to introduce the system which abroad is known as commandite, which has been in operation for many years in Europe and the United States, and is found most useful. It was examined some years ago by a Parliamentary Committee, which reported in its favour. It is supported by the chambers of commerce, and, indeed, by commercial opinion generally. Some good judges have considered that if it had been introduced before limited liability, much loss of capital would have been avoided. The Bill is substantially as passed by your Lordships last year, but there are some changes in detail, which in our judgment are not altogether in the right direction, and as to which it may be necessary to say something in Committee, but I need not trouble the House in the matter at the present stage. Last year there was no opposition, and I hear of none now. His Majesty's Government have been good enough to inform me that they do not oppose the Bill, and in these circumstances I will not go into any details at the present stage, but without more words will move the Second Reading.

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


My Lords, the Bill which my noble friend has asked your Lordships to read a Second Time to-night is one to which His Majesty's Government do not propose to offer any opposition, although they naturally reserve the right of introducing Amendments at a later stage should that course be considered necessary. The system of limited partnerships, or the en commandite system, seems to have worked excellently in other countries in which it has been in force and to have been of great help to commercial industries. This subject was brought before the Departmental Committee on Company Law which sat at the Board of Trade two or three years ago, and the Report of that Committee was unanimously in favour of introducing the system into this country. I do not think it is necessary for me to say more at the present stage, but simply to ask your Lordships to give the Bill your favourable consideration.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.