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Clause 2—(Amendments As To Procedure)

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

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"(2) It is hereby declared that the provisions of Sections one hundred and thirty-three to one hundred and forty-three of the Lunacy Act, 1890, relating to vesting and other Orders, as amended by subsequent enactments, apply to criminal lunatics."

I beg to move, to leave out Sub-section (2), and to insert instead thereof the following new Sub-section:

"(2) Sections one hundred and thirty-three to one hundred and forty-three (in elusive) of the Lunacy Act, 1890 (as amended by any subsequent enactment), shall apply and extend to trustees and mortgagees who are criminal lunatics."
This is the first of three manuscript Amendments which I have submitted to the Attorney-General, and I hope he will accept them. Perhaps the House will allow me to explain the effect of them as briefly as I can. The first of them is merely repeating the Sub-section which I propose to leave out, with slight verbal, drafting alterations, and its effect is to extend the provisions of the Sections of the Lunacy Act referred to to criminal lunatics as well as to what are known as Chancery lunatics. That is a reform which is admittedly required.

The second Sub-section which I am proposing to move is that the power of the High Court to make orders under Sections 135 to 143, inclusive, of the Lunacy Act, as amended by any subsequent. Act, in relation to lunatics who are mortgagees, shall extend to two cases which are not at present covered by the Act. One is the case of a lunatic who is the trustee of a part only of mortgage money and who may be beneficially interested himself in the other part of it. The second case is that where a lunatic has become a trustee of the mortgaged pro- perty as the result of the mortgage money having been repaid, so that. the estate in the mortgage which is vested in him is necessarily held by him as trustee for the mortgagor, and it provides that in those cases the Judge in Lunacy shall have no jurisdiction. The reason is that the Lunacy Act, 1911, removes this power from the Master in Lunacy to a Judge of the High Court.

The remaining Sub-section which I wish to move is to provide that proceedings in the High Court under these vesting sections shall be entitled "In the Matter of the Trustee Act, 1893"; that is, instead of their being entitled, as they are at present, "In the matter of the Act 53 Vic." something which everybody knows is the Lunacy Act. There is sometimes unnecessary unpleasantness caused by drawing attention to a man who is not in common parlance a lunatic, but is for legal purposes unable to deal with business matters and therefore has his affairs in the hands of a receiver; it is quite unnecessary that he should be advertised, so to speak, to the world as a lunatic.

Perhaps I may explain that I am much indebted to the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. D. Herbert), who has paid a great deal of attention to this Bill and has made use of the great experience that he has had in these matters to assist the Bill. The Sub-section which he proposes to leave out is one which gives the power to make use of what are called the vesting sections of the Act of 1890, and extend them to the case of criminal lunatics. By a rather unfortunate omission in Section 340 of the Act of 1890, criminal lunatics were not included. That leads to considerable trouble in the working of their estates. These several Amendments of the hon. Member are particular and accurate alterations carrying out what, perhaps rather more shortly and also more crudely, was provided for in the Bill. I am pleased to accept them.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: After the words last inserted, insert new Subsection

"(3) The power of the High Court to make Orders under Sections 135 to 143 (inclusive) of the said Act (as amended by any subsequent enactment) in relation to lunatics who are mortgagees shall extend to cases where:
  • (a) the lunatic is a trustee of part only of the mortgage money, and notwithstanding that he is beneficially interested in any part thereof; and
  • (b) the lunatic has become a trustee of the mortgaged property merely by reason of the mortgage money having been paid off;
  • and in those cases the Judge in Lunacy shall have no jurisdiction."—[Mr. D. Herbert.]

    I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to insert new Sub-section

    "(4) Proceedings in the High Court under those Sections 135 to 143 (as amended) shall he entitled In the matter of the Trustee Act, 1893.'"

    I may explain, perhaps, that when proceedings are brought before the Court they have what is called a title, and you say "In re" a particular matter. It so happens that in these proceedings you may have two or more persons. One may be a trustee of perfectly sound mind, who may be associated with another trustee who is a lunatic. Hitherto, in dealing with the matter, you put "In re" the Act of 1890, which is the Lunacy Act. Sometimes it leads to misunderstanding, when the person at whose instance and as whose duty the proceedings are taken find himself dealing with the matter under the title of the Lunacy Act. It is unfortunate and unnecessary. It would be more satisfactory to leave out all possible tinge of lunacy in a matter where there is no lunacy involved, and in what is merely an application by one trustee to have an estate dealt with and to give him certain powers to move the Court where a difficulty has been imposed on him by his colleague having unfortunately suffered from lunacy. Therefore, we want to get the title of these proceedings in the form proposed.

    Amendment, agreed to.