HL Deb 27 May 1919 vol 34 cc860-1

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

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]


I wish to say one word upon this Bill, partly because I suppose that I am almost the only person in the world who knows from personal experience the substance of this Bill and the reason why it is required. I can recollect when the present Official Solicitor was appointed, and I am able to assure the House that there is ample reason for passing such a clause as Clause I of this Bill. I remember the difficulties which occurred at the time when the late Mr. Pemberton held the office; and when the present Official Solicitor, Mr. Winter-bottom, was appointed there were so many cases in which the Official Solicitor was appointed as the person in charge of the estates and affairs of lunatics, wards, and so on, that in each case a fresh appointment had to be made. If that caused difficulty then, the difficulty would be very much greater upon the occasion of the retirement of the present Official Solicitor, and for this reason-that he has been a man of great ability and of quite extraordinary energy. The result has been that, during the many years he has held office as Official Solicitor, business has very largely increased, and in fact, as far as I know, the only objection to the office is that there has been some feeling in the profession that the Official Solicitor attracted to himself business which might have gone to private solicitors. In the circumstances there can be no doubt that it is a very wise and useful provision to make it unnecessary to incur the trouble or the expense of making new appointments of the Official Solicitor in all the classes of case to which I have referred.

Bill reported without amendment.