Lieut.- Commander Hutchison:
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to provide for the reciprocal enforcement of orders for aliment between Scotland and those Dominions, Colonies and Protectorates to which the provisions of the Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Act, 1920, have been extended by Order in Council.
I regret that the practical difficulties involved in making such reciprocal arrangements between Scotland and Commonwealth countries overseas have not yet been overcome.
Could the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what are the practical difficulties, what steps have been taken to overcome them, and if anything is to be done in the immediate future in relation to this problem?
I cannot promise immediate action. If the right hon. Gentleman would be good enough to refer to a more detailed reply which I gave on 11th March, 1952, to the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes), he will find some of those difficulties specified.
Does the Secretary of Stale remember that, when he gave me that answer, he promised to get into touch with the Lord Advocate with a view to resolving those alleged practical difficulties? Does he remember that I drew his attention to cases of great hardship arising from the present state of the law, and does he say that he has done nothing to resolve those difficulties and hardships?
My information is that Scots law normally recognises only the jurisdiction of the court of the area where the defender is living. As I say, the matter is complicated and might require legislation.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that in recent legislation that form of jurisdiction has been departed from in certain cases, and will he look at this matter again to see whether, if that is the only difficulty, the precedent which has been followed lately cannot be followed in this type of case?