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Clause 34—(Rules Of Court And County Court Rules)

Volume 439: debated on Friday 11 July 1947

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I beg to move, in page 20, line 36, to leave out paragraphs (c) and (d.)

The object of this Amendment is to put the solicitor to a Government Department in precisely the same position as any other solicitor, and to lay him open to the same results if he is late in making pleadings or in entering an appearance.. There seems to be no reason why he should be put in a protected position.

To a great extent the purposes of default and summary judgment procedure are to obtain quick judgment in case the defendant disposes of his assets or clears out of the country. That, of course, cannot apply to the Crown, and, in all the circumstances, we feel unable to accept this Amendment. I do not think it is appreciated what an enormous amount of work is involved in Government Departments at the present time, or will be involved when the whole field of tort is thrown open to the private litigant. I will be quite frank with the Committee. In regard to this matter the Crown simply cannot face at the moment having judgment signed against it in default of appearance without the leave of the court; that is to say, without notice of an application to that effect having first been given to it. I ask my hon. Friend to agree that it would be unreasonable to subject the Crown to the risk of snap judgments of this kind, and that there really is no hardship on the subject in imposing this provision.

Amendment negatived.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.