Orders of the Day — COURTS (EMERGENCY POWERS) AMENDMENT BILL [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 29th September 1942.

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The second object of the Bill would appear to be a very proper one and one on which we lawyers can agree. It is the saving of costs. At present, as the Attorney-General has explained, when action is taken for recovery of possession by a mortgagee, considerable costs may be incurred before the court has to decide on the propriety, having regard to the Courts (Emergency Powers) Acts, of giving the necessary protection. As I understand it, the Bill assimilates the procedure under that form of action with the procedure followed in the case of an action for foreclosure, and provides that the leave of the court has to be given, in the first instance, before substantial costs have been incurred. It appears to me, as I hope it will appear to the House, that we may very properly pass this Bill through all its stages as we have been asked to do by the Lord Privy Seal, and I congratulate the Government on having brought it before the House. I am sure hon. Members will agree that it is very desirable that these Acts of Parliament, dealing as they do with matters principally arising during the war and of considerable importance to all those affected, should be put into such a form, as far as possible, that the man in the street will be able to understand and follow them. At present it is extremely difficult even for a lawyer, having regard to the numerous Acts of Parliament which exist, and the aumcrous amendments of the law which have been made, to find out the precise state of the law relating to some of these matters to-day. If, therefore, these statutory enactments can be consolidated so much the better and I hope that such consolidations may take place, not only in regard to this matter, but in regard to many others, such as the Rents Acts, which are extremely difficult to follow and understand in their present form.