Law of Succession (Report)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill 12:00 am, 17th December 1957

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why there has been delay in giving effect to proposals contained in the Report on the Law of Succession in Scotland presented in 1950; what are the difficulties; and when he intends to introduce legislation.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

The Mackintosh Committee recommended fundamental changes in the law of succession in Scotland, some of them in fields subsequently covered by the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce and the Hurst Committee on Adoption. It is necessary to consider the Mackintosh Committee's recommendations in the light of the findings of these later inquiries, and I am not yet able to say when it will be possible to introduce legislation on the law of succession.

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that it is already seven years since the Report was presented, in 1950? Is that not long enough, in all conscience, to deal with the matter?

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

Subsequently the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce and the Hurst Committee on Adoption have reported. It would be unwise to proceed without linking up all the work of those bodies. That is going on at the moment.

Photo of Mr Douglas Johnston Mr Douglas Johnston , Paisley

Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect that a former Lord President, Lord Cooper, stated some years ago that our present law of intestacy succession was a scandal and that something should be done about it? The two Committees to which the right hon. Gentleman referred reported a considerable time ago. What is the period of gestation of the Secretary of State on a Bill?

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

When dealing with such a subject as the law of succession in Scotland, I should think it would be fairly long.