§ Bill read 3a (according to order).
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I have several Amendments to move at this stage. This Bill was brought in by Lord Avebury, and the purpose of it is to provide that certain corporations which now, under the Public Trustee Act, are licensed to act as custodian trustees should be at liberty to act as trustees at large and also to make charges. I informed Lord Avebury that it was necessary that I should consider the Bill. As soon as I had time I did so, and I have been in communication with those very influential 1133 people in the City of London who are moving to allow the great banks to take this position and they have consented to the Amendments which stand on the Paper in my name.
The purpose and substance of these Amendments is two-fold. In the first place, I do not think that because a corporation is licensed under the Public Trustee Act to become a custodian trustee it would therefore be right to allow it, merely, at the motion of, for instance, an existing trustee or one of the beneficiaries, to take the position of trustee absolutely and to be at liberty to make charges for the care of the trust. Therefore I have provided in these Amendments that they cannot do so in any particular case except by leave of a Judge, which is very easily and cheaply obtained in Chambers. If the Judge gives his permission in a particular case he will be satisfied, no doubt, of the solvency of the trustees and of the propriety of allowing this to be done.
The second Amendment is this. As your Lordships are aware, the Public Trustee has the Treasury at his back. If he commits a breach of trust the Treasury has to act. In the ease of many of these corporations which are licensed to be custodian trustees, their wealth may be sufficient to be an adequate guarantee, but it is very undesirable that because they are licensed to act as custodian trustees people should be left under the belief that in trusting them they have the public guarantee of the Treasury at their back. Therefore I propose to insert a proviso to the effect that every prospectus, circular, advertisement, or other document issued by or on behalf of a licensed corporation and relating to the undertaking of trusts shall, if such prospectus, circular, advertisement, or other document contains any reference to the Public Trustee or to the Public Trustee Act, 1906, contain a separate and distinct statement that no liability attaches to the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom in respect of any act or omission of the licensed corporation.
I confess that, although one is very anxious to yield to the opinion of men like Lord Avebury and other great authorities, it is not without sonic degree of misgiving that, even with these Amendments, I contemplate the departure from 1134 the wholesome rule that a trustee cannot make a profit out of his trust. However, that is the purpose of the Bill. The Amendments safeguard the matter in the way I have described. Discretion is left to the Judge, and I hope that that safeguard may prove satisfactory.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 1, clause 1, line 12, after ("that") insert ("a corporate trustee shall not be entitled to act under this section as a new or additional trustee unless appointed to act as such by the Court; provided also that").
§ Page 2, clause 1, line 10, after ("liberty") insert ("if authorised by the creator of the trust or by the Court").
§ Page 3, clause 3, leave out subsections (4) and (5).
§ Page 4, clause 5, lines 32, 33, leave out ("any other licensed corporation") and insert ("a trustee").
§ Page 4, clause 5, line 39, leave out ("trust property") and insert ("retiring corporation").
§ Page 4, clause 5, line 40, leave out ("its") and insert ("his").
Page 5, after clause 5, insert a new clause:—
Every prospectus, circular, advertisement, or other document issued by or on behalf of a licensed corporation and relating to the undertaking of trusts shall, if such prospectus, circular, advertisement, or other document contains any reference to the Public Trustee or to the Public Trustee Act, 1906, contain a separate and distinct statement that no liability attaches to the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom in respect. of any act or omission of the licensed corporation.
§ Page 5, clause 6, leave out lines 12, 13, 14, and 15, and in line 16 leave out ("custodian trustee and which").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ THE EARL OF CHICHESTER
I understand that the noble and learned Earl has communicated all these Amendments to Lord Avebury and to Lord Goschen, both of whom are unfortunately ill, and that they have agreed to the Amendments.
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Bill passed, and sent to the Commons, and to be printed as amended. (No. 181.)