HL Deb 25 October 1909 vol 4 cc408-10

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[THE EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2:

2.—(1) Any oath may be administered and taken in the form and manner described in the schedule thereto.

(2) The officer shall (unless the person about to take the oath voluntarily objects thereto, or is physically incapable of so taking the oath) administer the oath in such form and manner without question.


As the result of a general agreement with the Lord Chief Justice, I desire to move an Amendment to Clause 2, which sufficiently explains itself. It is to be hoped that this form will impress the witness and lead to a higher standard of truthfulness in the Courts.

Amendment moved— In page 1, line 9, to leave out 'described in the schedule hereto,' and to insert following— 'The person taking the oath shall hold the New Testament in his uplifted hand and shall say or repeat after the officer administering the oath the words 'I swear by Almighty God that … . .', followed by the words of the oath prescribed by law.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP said the next was a consequential Amendment.

Amendment moved— In line 12, to leave out 'in such form and manner, 'and to insert 'in the form and manner aforesaid.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next Amendment is very desirable in order to make provision in the case of a person who is not a Christian. It is generally agreed that this Amendment really meets a case of this kind, and that it will allow the oath to be taken in a sufficiently formal manner, whilst it will not inflict any hardship on the person to be sworn.

Amendment moved— In line 13, at the end of the clause, to insert 'Provided that in the case of a person who is not a Christian the oath shall be administered as nearly as may be in the form and manner aforesaid, but with such modifications of the words or ceremony as may make the same conformable to the religious faith, or binding on the conscience of such person.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4:

4.—(1) This Act shall come into operation on the first day of October nineteen hundred and nine.

(2) This Act shall not apply to Scotland.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to amend the date of the coming into operation of the Bill, in consequence of the late period of the year at which the House was sitting.

Amendment moved— In page 1, line 17, to leave out 'October nineteen hundred and nine,' and to insert' January nineteen hundred and ten.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to omit the Schedule on the ground that it had been inserted in the Bill.

Amendment moved— In page 2, to leave out the schedule."—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Standing Committee negatived: The Report of Amendments to be received To-morrow, and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 207.)

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