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The United Arts Club

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 7 August 1907

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I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General if his attention has been directed to the case of Challoner v. Robinson, decided on 30th July last, in which the plaintiffs were the United Arts Club, an association of painters, who were sub-lesseos of certain premises, on which they held an exhibition of pictures, from lessees, to whom the Arts Club had regularly paid all rent due; whether in consequence of the lessees having failed to pay the rent due to the head landlord, Messrs. Robinson and Fisher, of Willis' Auction Rooms, the head landlord, claiming the right to distrain on the property of strangers I found on the premises, has distrained upon and proposes to sell all the pictures; whether Mr. Justice Neville, in delivering judgment, said that this constituted an I extraordinary state of things, which, monstrous though he held it to be, had hitherto escaped the zeal of the legal reformer; and whether the Attorney General will bring in a Bill next session to stop this kind of action in future.

This question involves the consideration of the policy of maintaining the law of distress in its present form. The facts stated in the Question afford an illustration of one of its worst features. I cannot defend all the provisions of the law as it now stands. I am unable, however, to promise to introduce a measure upon the subject next session.

Can nothing be done for these unfortunate painters who, through no fault of their own, had their pictures seized and sold?

[No Answer was returned.]