§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE FOR INDIA (EARL RUSSELL)
My Lords, I do not propose to stand for more than a few moments between the House and the discussion of the Motion which follows. This Bill has been for some time in one form or another before Parliament. It was drafted, as a matter of fact, at the request of the late Home Secretary, the noble Viscount, and it was approved by the late Attorney-General. It has passed through its stages in another place and its object is shortly this. It has been held in Court to be the law that where a person has insured against an accident and a third party has recovered damages and would have those damages satisfied out of the insurance money, should the insurance money be paid to the insured person and should he go bankrupt before it reaches the person injured, then it becomes part of his general estate instead of being earmarked for the person who has been injured. The object of this Bill is to earmark it for that purpose.
The wording of the Bill is extremely long and complex, but that is its object. It has suffered one or two trifling alterations to which I will call the attention of your Lordships. In Clauses 1, 2 and 3 it is intended to secure that the position of the third party will be as nearly as possible the same where the person who has injured him dies insolvent as it would have been if he had become insolvent during life. A new subsection (3) in Clause 1 provides that parties cannot defeat the provisions in the Bill by a contract of insurance. Clause 2 contains the principal object at the end of it. It is to secure that any provision to the effect that the contract is to be void upon disclosure to the third party of the fact of insurance shall not operate so as to deprive the third party of his rights under the Bill. A good deal of debate took place as to the possibility of the 436 rights of the injured party being defeated by an arrangement between the insured and the insurer, and Amendments were adopted to prevent that happening. Then there were some further Amendments making the moment when the transfer of rights takes place the date of the winding-up order and Clause 2 was strengthened by the addition of subsections (2) and (3). The object of all these Amendments was to carry out the main purpose of the Bill, which was that the right of the person insured to recover the money should not be defeated by its going into the general pool of bankruptcy. It is possible some of your Lordships may be able to think of Amendments to move in Committee, but I am sure there is no objection to the general principle of the Bill, and I beg to move that it be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Earl Russell.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.