§ Order of the day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ LORD HANWORTH
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee upon this Bill. In making this Motion I desire to tell the House that I have looked into the two points which were raised by the noble Viscount, Lord Bertie of Thame, who asked me to consider them and, if necessary, in my own name, put down two Amendments which would be suitable to meet the points that he made. It is right I should say that I find it unnecessary to put down Amendments, and, as I have no Amendment to which I can speak, I take the opportunity afforded by this Motion to tell the House that on looking into the matter I found the first point was met by the Rules which at present exist and govern the procedure involved in the Bill, and the second is 1064 one saving certain rights of bankers, which we certainly ought not to interfere with. On those grounds I think it unnecessary to put down any Amendments.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Hanworth.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly:
§ [The EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]
§ Clauses 1 to 7 agreed to.
§ Clause 8:
§ Relief to banks.
§ (2) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding subsection, a bank at which a solicitor keeps such an account as aforesaid shall not, in respect of any liability of the solicitor to the bank, not being a liability in connection with that account, have or obtain any recourse or right, whether by way of set off, counter claim, charge, or otherwise, against moneys standing to the credit of that account:
§ Provided that nothing in this subsection shall deprive a bank of any right existing at the time when the first rules made under this Act come into operation.
§ VISCOUNT GOSCHEN moved, in subsection (2), to leave out "such an account as aforesaid" and insert "an account for clients' moneys." The noble Viscount said: The object of this Amendment is simply to make it clear to what accounts the words "such an account as aforesaid" refer. When the Bill was first drafted these words undoubtedly were intended to refer, and did refer, to the words "account for clients' moneys" in Clause 1 of the Bill, but since then the Bill has been amended, and, as it now stands, I do not think that it is quite clear whether those words "such an account as aforesaid" still refer to Clause 1, or whether they might not be taken to refer to subsection (1) of Clause 8. It is in order to remove this ambiguity, while maintaining the intention of the Bill, that I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
Amendment moved —
Page 4, line 13, leave out ("such an account as aforesaid") and insert ("an account for clients' moneys").—(Viscount Goschen.)
§ LORD HANWORTH
I have some difficulty in this matter because, first of all, I do not think the Amendment is necessary, inasmuch as I do not think that, when a banker knew that under Clause 1 1065 certain moneys had been placed to the credit of a particular solicitor for the purpose of safe custody, and the bank knew that they were not the property of the solicitor, and that he was not the person who was entitled absolutely to all the moneys paid or credited to the account as stated in Clause 1, it could possibly be suggested that that, bank could exercise any right or have a set-off or counter claim or charge against moneys which they knew did not belong to the solicitor in whose name they stood. It seems to me, therefore, an unnecessary Amendment, More than that, I think the words are not very happily chosen. In my opinion it will be necessary to make an Amendment to Clause 1 to make the two clauses work together, but as my noble friend Lord Goschen attaches importance to these words, and, subject to reserving my right upon the Report stage to deal with the matter as may then seem right after we have had a fuller opportunity of considering it, I will accept the words at the present time.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining clause agreed to.