New Clause. — (Provisions as to hearing action for injunction.)

Orders of the Day — County Courts Bill. – in the House of Commons on 1st July 1924.

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Notwithstanding anything contained in the principal Act, it shall be within the competence of a Judge of the County Court to hear and determine an action for injunction although there be no claim for damages in connection therewith.—[Sir Kingsley Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This is a Clause to make provision in regard to the hearing of actions for injunctions. There are a number of instances where in some small or trivial case the County Court Judge has not power to grant an injunction unless there is a claim for damages. The supporters of this new Clause desire a County Court Judge to have the same right in that respect as now appertains to a High Court Judge. There is some rattle difficulty owing to the fact that as there is to be no claim for damages it might be thought certain actions would be commenced in the County Court. That difficulty may be got ever if an affidavit were sworn saying it was within the jurisdiction of the County Court itself. Perhaps the Attorney-General may consider that there is a case for something like this being done. I know he does not desire to force litigants who cannot afford it to go to the High Courts, but if he disapproves of this new Clause perhaps he can, in another place, give us something that will meet an undoubted difficulty which ought to be met. All we desire is that where a member of the working classes desires an injunction on some small matter he should have the right to go to the County Court, whereas at present he is compelled to adopt the expensive procedure of the High Court, and that is why I am making this proposal.

Photo of Major William Allen Major William Allen , County Armagh

I beg to second the Motion. I support all that the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) has said on this question, and I submit to the Attorney-General that there is a necessity for a proposal of this character. I appreciate what has been said that there may be some difficulty in its application, having regard to the limit that is always imposed upon proceedings in the County Court. I cannot help thinking, however, that that is a difficulty which can be readily got over. In my own experience, some few years ago, I had, in the course of a very few months, quite a number of cases for litigants in comparatively poor circumstances, who sought injunctions, and it was impossible to bring proceedings in the County Court in those cases, for the simple reason that it was not possible to hitch on to them a claim for damages. There have been cases, I know, in which, by the exercise of ingenuity, a claim for damages has been made, more or less of a nominal character, in order to get over the difficulty, but I submit to the Attorney-General that this Clause is somewhat on all fours with the Clause he has already accepted. It is not a matter of great importance, but there are cases, know, every year, in which it would remove a certain amount of hardship.

I may, perhaps, be permitted to say, although it may not necessarily recommend the Clause to hon. Members above the Gangway, that in one or two cases in which workmen have desired to bring actions against trade unions, those actions could not be brought in the County Court, although the subject-matter was not large, because all that they wanted was an injunction, and not damages against the union itself. I do not suppose that hon. Members above the Gangway desire to encourage litigation against trade unions, but they are probably as desirous as we are that trade unionists who are suffering from hardship should have all the assistance that this House and the Courts can afford them. There have been cases of that kind in which it has been necessary to involve claimants in expensive High Court proceedings, because there was no claim for damages, but simply a claim for an injunction in order to remove a very substantial injustice.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

I am sorry to say that I cannot accept this Clause, nor can I hold out the slightest hope that it will be moved by the Government in another place. Neither do I agree that it is not a matter of importance. In my view it is a matter of great importance and danger. The importance is that, as many hon. Members will know, there is a limit to the jurisdiction of the County Courts—a purely financial limit. Within my own experience there have been many attempts to institute actions merely for an injunction, without putting in a claim for damages, which have, as a necessary consequence, decided issues immeasurably greater than the County Court was ever intended or desired to decide. It will lay the County Courts open to abuse which is practically immeasurable. I do not desire to take up the time of the House. This is a legal question, but I think the House will probably be largely assisted in its decision by the fact that one would think, in a matter of this sort, which is really of great importance, that someone of considerable experience, say, one of the ex-Law Officers, would have been here to support it. I think that, if any of the ex-Law Officers were present, they would accept my suggestion that this Clause is impossible. I could, if the House desired it, argue the matter at greater length, but it is purely a legal matter, involving, in my view, a great deal of danger, and I hope that, unless the House desires a long and detailed legal argument, it will accept my view. Unless someone can come forward, such as the late Attorney-General or someone below the Gangway of great legal experience, to suggest any reason at all why this Clause should be accepted, I hope the House will reject it without further argument.

Captain TUDOR REES:

As one of those responsible for this Clause, I regret that the Attorney-General has not seen his way to accept it, and for one, particularly resent the way in which he has dealt with it. I think myself, with great respect, that he has adumbrated a very dangerous departure in suggesting that, when a Clause has been put down by a humble back-bencher or two, who, while, perhaps, they have not had the great experience of the Courts that he has had, yet have had some experience, their experience should count for nothing, and that the representations which have been made to them, and in consequence of which this Clause has been put down, should count for nothing; and I regret that such slight consideration should be given to a very serious Clause, as the Attorney-General himself considers it to be. It is not so trivial as the Attorney-General seems to suppose. In my own experience, humble as it is, and less distinguished than that of the Attorney-General, I have come across large numbers of cases in which a Clause such as this, if introduced into the procedure of the County Courts, would have been of substantial assistance to those litigants who can ill afford to go to the expense of High Court proceedings.

For the benefit, if I may so with respect, of those who, perhaps, are not so fully conversant with the subject as those of us who have practised in the County Courts, may I say that the simple proposal is really this: To-day, if a man comes and damages any property of mine, I can then, if the claim does not exceed £100, start my proceedings in the County Court; but if that man, instead of actually doing damage, comes along and threatens damage, then I must go to the High Court. I should like to know from the Attorney-General, or anyone else on the Front Bench, why it is that in circumstances of that sort litigants—and it applies, I think, particularly to poor litigants—must incur the expense and delay of going to the High Court, when they could have their grievances redressed in a much cheaper and more expeditious way in the County Court. I will give a very homely illustration. It was brought to my notice, a day or two ago, that a certain hon. Member of this House desecrates the early morning hours by practising, and making weird, horrible nosies in so doing, on the cornet. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name!"] I will not give his name, because later on he may attain musical distinction, though now he is a mere amateur. Another hon. Member lives in a fiat underneath, and has his mornings disturbed. If he regards that, as he does, as a positive nuisance, yet, inasmuch as no physical injury is caused, he is hound to take his action in the High Court; but if he could prove that any physical injury had resulted, or that he had suffered even 5s. worth of damage, then he would be able to start his proceedings in the County Court, and, perhaps, in a month, have the nuisance very suitably redressed.

That is only one simple illustration. I might, near my house, have a nuisance of some sort, but, unless I can show that I have suffered actual pecuniary loss or physical damage or injury, I must go to the High Court and invoke that cumbrous piece of machinery which is part of our legal system, and incur the additional expense involved. I urge upon the Attorney-General that the views I have expressed are not wholly my own views, that the Clause as put down does not represent idle thinking on the part of some hon. Members, but really represents the settled convictions of many practi- tioners the High Court with whom I have had long conversations on the matter, and it is at their request—and I thoroughly agree with their suggestion—many of whom have had 20, 30, 40 years' experience in the County Court and the High Court, that this new Clause has been put down, and if the hon. and learned Gentleman will not accept it, I hope, in deference to the wishes of hon. Members interested in the subject, he will give more adequate reasons for rejecting it.

Photo of Mr George Balfour Mr George Balfour , Hampstead

I am not in any way learned in the law or qualified to offer any advice upon this matter, but I rise to offer a comment after listening to the Attorney-General's speech. I think in all parts of the House we may resent the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech when he disregards entirely the views of the lay Member in this House and he rests his defence of his position upon the fact that the Clause has not been supported by a single ex-Law Officer of the Crown. Had it been supported by all the ex-Law Officers of the Crown, in my judgment it would impose a greater obligation and a greater duty upon back bench Members to endeavour to keep the law of the country in harmony with the common sense of the people.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

I should like to say a word with reference to what has been said about resenting the speech I made. Does the House really think that is quite fair? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] May I say why it was that I did not give a more detailed explanation? The Bill has been before the House now practically three times a week for the last month. This Amendment has been upon the Paper. I have been through the Amendments with the greatest care in the hope of accepting some of them—and I propose to accept a good many—hoping we should save the time of the House. If I thought hon. Members wanted the Clause discussed, I would have discussed it further. If the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) would at least have the courtesy to listen, I shall be only too glad to explain it here. Neither am I seeking in the slightest degree to resent back benchers introducing a matter of this sort. This is purely a matter of law. Surely public opinion in all parts of the House can be guided in purely legal matters by legal views.

Photo of Mr Reginald Banks Mr Reginald Banks , Swindon

I think the hon. and learned Gentleman is dealing with a point which was not raised in his speech. The resentment was caused by the inference, which more persons than one drew on these benches, that no legal discussion in the House should assume any real importance, nor could we offer any valuable advice, nor could any Amendment be really urgently pressed unless it was supported by an ex-Law Officer of the Crown. Ex-Law Officers of the Crown and Law Officers of the Crown make mistakes. There are recent instances of Law Officers making grave blunders in the law. There are others making grave blunders in the temper of the House of Commons.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

I regret that the hon. and learned Gentleman should have adopted that tone. I hoped it would be present to the minds of hon. Members, from the way I accepted the first Amendment, as I propose to accept others, that my only object was to hope that they would be guided by the views I expressed in not pressing the Amendment.

Photo of Mr George Balfour Mr George Balfour , Hampstead

We should be perfectly prepared to accept any logical explanation which the Attorney-General can give why we should refuse the Amendment.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

I am much obliged. I am only too glad to give it. I hope the House will accept the view that the only reason why I spoke so shortly was in the hope of saving time.

Photo of Mr George Balfour Mr George Balfour , Hampstead

Submit the reason now.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

I propose to do so now the House has asked me. The reason is one which can be put shortly and which I think most hon. Members will agree is a sound one. The jurisdiction of the County Court is limited solely by financial limitations. The limitations of action in contract and in tort used to be lower than they are now. They are now increased, but they are all purely financial.

In cases of overwhelming importance, sometimes involving thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds, which were clearly matters for the determination of the High Court, a method was sought to be adopted by some practitioners to start action in a County Court claiming an injunction. The injunction was claimed simply and solely in order that an action which should be tried in the High Court and which could not be tried in the County Court if the real facts had been brought before the Court, namely, that the issues involved both in amount and in importance largely exceeded anything that the County Court ever was intended to deal with, but because there was no claim for damages but merely a claim for injunction it was sought to obtain the jurisdiction of the Court. The County Courts universally held that that was wrong and that unless there was a claim which was within the jurisdiction of the County Courts, in the sense of being below the pecuniary limit, it could not be brought within the jurisdiction of the County Court. This Amendment is intended to affect that and to ever-rule the decision laid down, that in a case of whatever importance and whatever the magnitude of the financial issues involved, if a claim for damages or a claim for pecuniary compensation was not made, but it was merely a claim for injunction, then the County Court should have jurisdiction. That is why I say it is a most dangerous Amendment. I cannot help thinking that those who consider the Amendment will agree with me. I did not give a more lengthy explanation because I hoped that nobody would think it necessary to press the Amendment, but when I found that they did think it necessary to press it, I give this explanation

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

I am very sorry that my hon. Friend has said that. I do not think that it was a question of manners. If he will excuse me, I think he thought that he had an opportunity of saying something which I might resent. If it is a question of manners, I would suggest to my hon. Friend that he might think again before he makes an observation of that sort, which, if he said it where he and I practice—[Interruption.]

Photo of Hon. Charles Craig Hon. Charles Craig , Antrim

Do not bring in these personal remarks.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

Hon. Members opposite should not impute a desire on the part of other hon. Members to be offensive. I did not intend to be offensive. All I can say is that whatever I have said was not intentionally offensive, and I ask hon. Members opposite, and I ask the House to accept that statement.

Photo of Mr Reginald Banks Mr Reginald Banks , Swindon

I am most willing to withdraw any imputation against the Attorney-General, if he did not mean it offensively, but I must say that his phrase was most infelicitous. I entirely agree with his exposition of the law, and, in so doing, my opinion must be as good as the opinion of any ex-Law Officer of the Crown. What the Attorney-General said, by comparison, discredited every other hon. and learned Member, and to that extent it was infelicitous.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

If it was infelicitous, perhaps the House will accept from me the assurance that it was quite unintentional.

Photo of Mr Leslie Scott Mr Leslie Scott , Liverpool Exchange

I hope that, all Law Officers and ex-Law Officers do not fail in understanding that in this House law, as a rule, is out of place, unless there has to be a legal explanation. I hold the view very strongly that lawyers in this House ought to try to approach all questions as far as possible from a non-legal point of view. Approaching this question from a non-legal point, of view I agree with the explanation which the Attorney-General has given, and venture, not to embark on infelicitous or felicitous aspects of the controversy that has unfortunately arisen, but merely to say a word or two upon the Amendment. The essence of County Court jurisdiction is that it must be limited in amount or by some other means, so that the more important cases shall be left to the arbitrament of the High Court and only the less important cases dealt with in the County Court. For that reason the rule has been that actions for injunction and injunction alone should not be within the jurisdiction of the County Court.

The cause of that rule is simply that an action for injunction by itself is one which may involve a quite trivial stake or a stake of the utmost gravity either in money or in reputation. For that reason, because it is necessary to draw the line somehow, and because it is not practicable to draw a line in regard to injunctions by themselves, which would leave County Courts minor matters of injunction while it would leave major matters to the High Court, the rule has obtained that injunctions by themselves shall not be within the jurisdiction of the County Court. In my experience that, as a rule, is rendered necessary in practice without being ideal in character. For that reason I ask the House to say that we shall not depart from that rule. I believe that all lawyers in the House who have experience in these matters share that view.

The House should bear in mind that where the cause is limited in amount by the claim for damages or money payments coming within the County Court jurisdiction an injunction can be asked for as ancillary, and in those cases the object of the Amendment is achieved in the existing practice. It is only where an injunction is asked for by itself, and, consequently, there is no means, if an injunction be is within the competence of the County Court, of limiting the claims for an injunction to those cases of minor importance, that, the rule obtains, as I think rightly, which excludes it from the County Court jurisdiction. Almost the most important auctions in many ways, with which our Courts have to deal, are those asking for injunctions, and I can assure the House from my own experience in these matters that it would be a most regrettable result if actions of tremendous importance were suddenly by this Amendment put within the jurisdiction of County Courts. For those reasons I beg the House to accept the explanation of the Attorney-General, with which I entirely agree.

Photo of Sir William Jowitt Sir William Jowitt , Hartlepools, The

I have grave, doubts as to whether I can be right, in view of the fact that I find myself in complete agreement with the last speaker and with the Attorney-General. Whether that be so or not, I think it right to state that I am in complete agreement with them, and for this reason: It seems to me that it is quite essential that this House should bear in mind that the County Court is and ought to be the poor man's Court. The County Court is full of work at the present time, with such cases as rent cases, and so on. From the point of view of the poor man at would be a most lamentable thing if the County Court were suddenly to be saddled with a large number of cases which, I know well, might take days. If cases of this sort take days in the County Court it would mean that the man defending, say, a claim for possession or with a small judgment summons, would have his case postponed. The County Court ought not to be choked up with matters of this sort. Apart from that, it has always been considered that matters of very great importance ought to be decided in the High Courts. I trust that the Amendment will not be pressed to a Division.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I do not propose to say anything with regard to the personal observations of the Attorney-General, because I think that the House is satisfied as to what exactly is the position. But I want to say something with regard to the merits of the proposition. I do not claim perfection for the drafting of this Clause, but there are certain merits which ought to appeal to those who sit behind the Attorney-General. The Amendment is designed to permit people who could not otherwise afford it to go to a County Court Judge and to get an injunction on some comparatively small matter without having to make a claim for compensation or damages. I should have thought that that was a proposition which would have appealed to the Attorney-General, and I should not have thought that it was a difficult matter upon which to frame an Amendment or a new Clause. As matters are now, any litigant who wants to claim only an injunction is bound to go to the High Court. It might be a very big matter or a very small matter. This new Clause is simply designed to save people the expense of law costs, and in the hope that sonic method might be suggested by which anyone who writs to get an injunction which in the ordinary way would not be dealt with in the High Court, could go to a County Court Judge and get it. What the difficulty can be, and how the Attorney-General can resist a suggestion of this kind, I do not know. This new Clause was moved and seconded in perfectly temperate terms, and we suggested to the Attorney-General that if the Clause were not in proper order there might be some other method which could be adopted in order to attain the ends which we desire. I suggested to the Attorney-General that, perhaps, when a litigant in the County Court made his claim for an injunction he should file an affidavit saying that the matter in question referred, so far as the claim was concerned, only to a limited amount. That seemed to be a reasonable proposition.

I do not know why the Attorney-General wants to drive everyone into the High Court for an injunction. My suggestion is one which ought to appeal to most Members of the House and particularly Socialist Attorney-Generals. There are merits in this proposition. It is true that a very large number of important cases are decided on the question whether an injunction should be granted or not, but there are hundreds of trivial cases which go to the High Court to-day because litigants are driven there by the present procedure. This is an occasion on which we are deciding a matter affecting the practice of the County Courts and endeavouring to make matters simpler and easier for litigants, and I thought it a proper opportunity to consider a new Clause of this kind. I thought this as a matter to which any law officer of the Crown would have given some patient consideration and in which he would have seen there were some merits. I do not wish the House to think there are no merits in it, and I see opposite many hon. Members who are members of the Bar and who can testify to what I say. They know the needs which exist in cases of this kind; they know if a plaintiff wants to get an injunction to-day he has to go to the High Court even in the smallest matter, and may have a bill of costs of £50 or £60. Yet the Attorney-General says we cannot do anything; that there are grave and important matters, and that if you allow an injunction to be decided by the County Court Judge, the whole law of England will be upset.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hastings Sir Patrick Hastings , Wallsend

I am sure my hon. Friend will forgive me for interrupting, but he is really not stating my attitude correctly. As a matter of fact, the County Court Judge has power to grant an injunction.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

That is perfectly true where a claim for an injunction is made with a claim for damages, and that is why this proposed new Clause is designed in this way. I regret that the Attorney-General has not yet comprehended it. I say it should be perfectly proper for any plaintiff in this country to be able to go into the County Court for an injunction in a small matter without making a claim for damages. If a man wants to claim an injunction against a neighbour he does not want to get money but merely to stop a nuisance or something of that kind, and it should be perfectly practicable for him to do so. Anyone who desires to see justice done to poor people in this country who cannot afford to go to the High Court, should give careful consideration to a suggestion of this kind.

Photo of Mr Ellis Davies Mr Ellis Davies , Denbigh

I wish to identify myself with the remarks of the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood). I confess I do not follow the arguments of the Attorney-General. Apparently, the existing rule is intended to limit the jurisdiction of the County Court, but on what grounds I confess I cannot make out, and I am sorry that neither the Attorney-General nor the right hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir L. Scott) has given us very much enlightenment. The provision at present is that applications for injunction can only be made to the County Court provided there is a nominal claim for damages, and yet the Attorney-General suggests that the bringing of such proceedings without a nominal claim for damages is going to involve serious consequences. With regard to every other form of jurisdiction provided under the law there is a limit. With regard to claims for ejectment there is a limit as to property valued £50 a year, and if the Attorney-General has any sympathy with the Amendment, there is nothing to prevent him putting in a limitation that applications for injunctions without damages should apply only to property of a certain value. The hon. and learned Member for the Hartlepoels (Mr. Jowitt) seemed to imagine that these were matters which ought not to be dealt with in the County Court, but if an injunction is a legal remedy which is desirable for the owner of property of great magnitude, why is it not equally desirable for owners of small property? I put it to hon. Members below the Gangway, why, for instance, should an owner of small property not be entitled to go to the County Court and get an injunction against a big landowner to prevent interference with his light or with his rights of way or any other matter. The poor man is at present deprived of the remedy which is continually sought by the rich man in the High Court, because anyone with experience in the County Court, as I had in my younger days, knows perfectly well that the costs in the County Court are sufficiently high in most cases to prevent a poor man from making an application to it, but the costs of an application for injunction in the High Court are so high that it is quite impossible for a poor man to thick of using that course of procedure. I would ask hon. Members to put pressure on the Attorney-General to give way and to extend the jurisdiction of the County Court so that these remedies, which are within the reach of the rich, should be put also within reach of the poor

Photo of Mr Samuel Roberts Mr Samuel Roberts , Hereford

I feel some trepidation in rising to put forward a humble opinion which goes in a different direction from that advanced by so many exalted members of the higher branch of the profession to which belong, but, at the same time, I think the House has been rather over-estimating the importance both of the Amendment and of the resistance to it. The Attorney-General states that these matters of very great importance should not be decided in the County Court, out should go to the High Court, when, as a matter of fact, by the very simple expedient of putting in a claim for small damages, these very important matters, where damages are not the essence of the action, can be heard and started in the County Court at the present time. All that those who support the new Clause say is that it should not be necessary to put in the, small claim for damages when damages are not the essence of the action. That is all that is behind the Amendment. If there is this very great importance about these matters, the procedure up to the highest Court is not more difficult really because an application has been started in the County Court, because from the County Court it goes, I believe, to the Divisional Court and then to the Court of Appeal. I do not see any real reason why this Amendment should be resisted as strenuously as it has been, unless it be for a certain amount of resentment, or, I would rather say, of feeling that there is among certain people against actions being started in the County Court. The County Court is a great convenience to many humble people, who would never start if they were told they had to begin in the High Court, and, therefore, I feel that there is no practical objection to this Amendment. I think there is much less in the arguments of the Attorney-General and of the hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir L. Scott) than they have made out, and that this is an Amendment which can be, supported by the House.

Photo of Captain Reginald Berkeley Captain Reginald Berkeley , Nottingham Central

I find it very difficult to understand why the Attorney-General resists this Amendment. I should have thought he would have welcomed it and hurriedly got it passed into law, and that thereupon either he or some other accredited legal representative of the Government would have hurried off to the County Court at Woolwich and taken out a series of injunctions against the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) to prevent him putting down Amendments on the Order Paper. Seriously, however, the protagonists of the Attorney-General's attitude, including my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Hartlepools (Mr. Jowitt), have all referred to the County Court as being the poor man's Court, and they do not seem to have observed how illogical it is to point to the County Court as being the poor man's Court, if you deprive the poor man of the opportunity of taking his injunction proceedings in that Court, which you have created for the purpose of cheapening litigation. As to the argument that proceedings involving issues of great gravity would be brought into the County Court, surely that would not arise, because there exists, unless I am very much misinformed, in the law, procedure for removing actions from lower Courts to higher Courts, and it surely would not pass the wit of the Law Officers of the Crown to devise words by which it could be made perfectly plain that, if there were an abuse of this power and the kind of clever practice to which the Attorney-General referred, of bringing serious issues into the County Court for obscure purposes, in such cases there should be power to apply to the High Court for an order removing the course of action from the County Court to the High Court. I very much hope that the Movers of this Amendment will not be led away by the appeals which have been addressed to them by the higher ranks of the legal fraternity, and that they will press this Amendment to a Division and will be supported in the Lobby.

Photo of Major Hon. Hugh Moulton Major Hon. Hugh Moulton , Salisbury

In view of the discussion, I think the House ought to hesitate before accepting this proposal. One big injunction case might shut out a hundred poor litigants who want to have their cases dealt with. I quite agree that the present law wants some modification, but not in the direction that injunctions at large may be applied for. The hon. Member seems to be under an utter misapprehension with regard to the power of removing cases from the County Court. A case cannot be removed on the ground that it is important or unimportant, but merely on the ground that the County Court has no jurisdiction. I do ask the House to reject this proposal.

Photo of Mr Frederick Hindle Mr Frederick Hindle , Darwen

All the legal Members who have spoken in favour of or against this Amendment can be divided very definitely into two classes. All the legal Members who have spoken in favour of the Amendment have belonged to the lower branch of the profession, and, without exception, all the legal Members of the House who have spoken in favour of the Bill have belonged to the higher branch. It is not for me to make any invidious distinction between those two, but I may say that, after all, it is the lower branch who are more in touch with the actual needs of the people as a whole. The higher branch, by the etiquette of their own profession, are not allowed to come into contact with the actual clients, and it is the lower branch who have the greater proportion of cases in the County Court. I myself was met by this very difficulty within the last two months, and I can conceive many cases where such difficulties arise. The Attorney-General said quite properly that is important that cases involving large issues should go to the High Court, but at the present time these very cases can go to the County Court. If there is a case where an injunction is required, and a small amount of actual pecuniary damage has already been incurred, it is open to that litigant to go to the County Court, although the issue involved in the claim for an injunction is of enormous importance. Therefore, I cannot see why the Attorney-General should be so obdurate on this matter. His arguments seemed to be that the House, in passing an Amendment, was forcing all claims to go into the County Court. It is nothing of the sort. It is merely permissive. If the right hon. Gentlemen of the higher branch were called upon to advise a client in a case as to whether he should go into the High Court or take the case into the County Court, they would consider the purse of their client, and also the importance of the case. It is impossible, to conceive of a really important case for an injunction alone being put before the County Court in the

first instance. The County Court is a poor man's Court. There are plenty of cases where a poor man wants an injunction alone, and the Attorney-General and the Government ought to be able to draft a form of words which would enable him to go to the County Court, and yet maintain the jurisdiction of the High Court intact.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 75; Noes, 208.

Division No. 126.]AYES.[10.54 p.m.
Ainsworth, Captain CharlesFletcher, Lieut.-Com. R. T. H.Raine, W.
Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.)Foot, IsaacRawson, Alfred Cooper
Alstead, R.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Rees, Sir Beddoe
Atholl, Duchess ofGreene, W. P. CrawfordRemer, J. R.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Greenwood, William (Stockport)Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chrtsy)
Barnett, Major Richard W.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryRoberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Berkeley, Captain ReginaldHenderson, A. (Cardiff, South)Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Blades, Sir George RowlandHenn, Sir Sydney H.Robinson, W E. (Burslem)
Brass, Captain W.Hillary, A. E.Royle C.
Burman, J. B.Hindle, F.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.Hogbin, Henry CairnsSamuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)Hood, Sir JosephSavery, S. S.
Chapple, Dr. William A.Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Conway, Sir W. MartinJephcott, A. R.Sinclair, Col. N. (Queen's Univ., Belfst.)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Starmer, Sir Charles
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)Kedward, R. M.Stuart, Lord C. Crichton
Dawson, Sir PhilipLaverack, F. J.Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Dickie, Captain J. P.Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)Tattersall, J. L.
Dixey, A. C.Mansel, Sir CourtenayThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E)
Dixon, HerbertMitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)Waddington, R.
Dodds, S. R.Moles, ThomasWeston, John Wakefield
Doyle, Sir N. GrattanMond, H.Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)
Duckworth, JohnMorse, W. E.Wise, Sir Fredric
Dudgeon, Major C. R.Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph
Ednam, ViscountOliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
England, Colonel A.Owen, Major GSr. Kingsley Wood and Captain
Tudor Rees.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamDavison, J. E. (Smethwick)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Dickson, T.Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfield)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Dukes, C.Hennessy, Major, J. R. G.
Aske, Sir Robert WilliamDuncan, C.Hirst, G. H.
Attlee, Major Clement R.Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Hobhouse, A. L.
Ayles, W. H.Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern)Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)
Banks, Reginald MitchellEdwards, John H. (Accrington)Hodges, Frank
Banton, G.Egan, W. H.Hoffman, P. C.
Barclay, R. NotonElliot, Walter E.Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
Barnes, A.Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.)
Barnston, Major Sir HarryFalconer, J.Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie
Batey, JosephGardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton)
Brondfield, MargaretGardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North)Hudson, J. H.
Bonwick, A.Gavan-Duffy, ThomasJackson, R. F. (Ipswich)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Gibbins, JosephJenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Broad, F. A.Gillett, George M.Jewson, Dorothea
Bromfield, WilliamGosling, HarryJohn, William (Rhondda, West)
Buchanan, G.Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome)Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)
Buckle, J.Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Butler, Sir GeoffreyGreenall, T.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. NoelGreenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.)
Cape, ThomasGrenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)
Cassels, J. D.Grundy, T. W.Kennedy, T.
Clarke, A.Guest, J. (York, HemsworthKenyon, Barnet
Climie, R.Hacking, Captain Douglas H.King Captain Henry Douglas
Cluse, W. S.Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Kirkwood, D.
Collins, Patrick (Walsall)Hardie, George D.Lansbury, George
Cope, Major WilliamHarney, E. A.Law, A.
Costello, L. W. J.Harris, John (Hackney, North)Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North)
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryHartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonLawson, John James
Crittall, V. G.Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury)Leach, W.
Cunliffe, Joseph HerbertHastings, Sir PatrickLee, F.
Dalkeith, Earl ofHaycock, A. W.Lessing, E.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Loverseed, J. F.
Lowth, T.Pringle, W. M. R.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
McCrae, Sir GeorgeRaffan, P. W.Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)
M'Entee, V. L.Raynes, W. R.Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(Croydon, S.)
Mackinder, W.Rea, W. RussellThurtle, E.
McLean, Major A.Richards, R.Tinker, John Joseph
Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcom
Makins, Brigadier-General E.Ritson, J.Turner, Ben
March, S.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Turner-Samuels, M.
Marley, JamesRobertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)Varley, Frank B.
Martin, W.H. (Dumbarton)Romeril, H. G.Viant, S. P.
Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.Rose, Frank H.Wallhead, Richard C.
Maxton, JamesRoundell, Colonel R. F.Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Middleton, G.Rudkin, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. C.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Mills, J. E.Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H. (Cardiff, E.)
Montague, FrederickScrymgeour, E.Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Morel, E. D.Scurr, JohnWedgwood, Col. Rt. Hon. Josiah C.
Morris, R. H.Sexton, JamesWelsh, J. C.
Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)Shepperson, E. W.Westwood, J.
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Sherwood, George HenryWhite, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Moulton, Major FletcherSimon, E. D.(Manchester, Withington)Whiteley, W.
Muir, John WSimon, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnWignall, James
Murray, RobertSmillie, RobertWilliams, David (Swansea, E.)
Naylor, T. E.Smith, W. R. (Norwich)Williams. Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Smith-Carington, Neville W.Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B. (Kennington)
Nichol, RobertSnell, HarryWilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Nixon, H.Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
O'Grady, Captain JamesSpence, R.Windsor, Walter
Oliver, George HaroldStamford, T. W.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Oman, Sir Charles William C.Stephen, CampbellWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Palmer, E. T.Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)Woodwark, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Stewart, Maj. R. S. (Stockton-on-Tees)Wright, W.
Perring, William GeorgeStranger, Innes HaroldYerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Phillipps, VivianSturrock, J. LengYoung, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Pielou, D. P.Sullivan, J.
Ponsonby, ArthurSunlight, J.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Potts, John S.Sutton, J. E.Mr. Spoor and Mr. Warne.

Question put, and agreed to.