§ Sir H. NIELD
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that, through his solicitor, the liquidator 930W of the Marshall Shipping Company, Limited, made and delivered a claim on the 9th November, 1921, to the Board of Trade for the refund of the sum of £20,000 paid by the company to the Ministry of Shipping; that proceedings were commenced on the 7th February, 1922, in the War Compensation Court in respect of such claim; that subsequently, on the 5th July, 1922, a writ was issued, and served upon the Board of Trade to enforce such claim; that a petition of right addressed to His Majesty the King, was lodged at the Home Office on the 7th July, 1922, by the liquidator of the Marshall Shipping Company, Limited, by his solicitor, in respect of the claim to repayment of the said sum of £20,000; and why was the fiat to such petition of right withheld until the 4th February, 1924, whereby the hearing of the claim has been delayed for over one year and 10 months?
The answer to the first four parts of the question is in the affirmative. The last part of the question, which refers to the proceedings by Petition of Right, will, I understand, be replied to by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to whom a similar question has been addressed.
§ Sir H. NIELD
asked the Home Secretary whether he received from the liquidator of the Marshall Shipping Company, Limited, or his solicitors, on the 7th July, 1922, a copy of a petition of right, together with an application for the same to be granted the customary fiat, let right be done, in order that the claim of the said liquidator might be proceeded with; will he explain why such fiat was withheld until the 4th February, 1924, delaying the proceedings against the Crown for nearly two years; and what authority does he claim to have had for causing such delay?
The petition of right referred to was received in the Home Office on the 14th July, 1922. It was referred to the Attorney-General on the 1st August, and on the 6th October, 1922, the Attorney-General reported that His Majesty could not be advised to fiat the petition while proceedings were still pending in respect of the same claim before the War Compensation Court. The petitioners were informed of this opinion on the 10th October. No reply to this letter was received, and the Home Office 931W heard nothing further about the matter until 17th January last, when the Attorney-General reported further that he was informed that the suppliants were now prepared to give an undertaking to abandon the proceedings before the War Compensation Court in respect of the same claim in the event of the petition being fiatted, and he recommended that His Majesty should be advised to grant the fiat.