§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
My Lords, the Bill which I have the honour to present to your Lordships for Second Reading is similar to that which Lord Courtney presented last year, and which your Lordships were good enough to pass. I will state, as briefly as possible, 568 its main provisions. In any action at common law, in the case of a fatal accident, the representatives of the deceased are allowed to retain any benefit which may accrue from policies of insurance, together with any damages which the Court may see fit to award. In the case of Lord Campbell's Act, however, this is not so, for any money accruing from a policy taken out by the deceased has to be set off against the damages awarded by the Court. Lord Campbell's Act has been for a great number of years quiescent, but in 1905 the case of Sykes v. the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway was decided, in which the Judge ruled that the amount accruing to the deceased under a policy of insurance must be deducted from the damages awarded by the jury. For instance, if a jury were inclined to award damages to the amount of £2,000 and the amount of insurance accruing to the deceased was £1,000, in that case they would only be able to give a verdict for £1,000; and your Lordships will therefore see that the person who is actually responsible for the death derives a benefit at the expense of the deceased. The privilege of contracting out has already been given by your Lordships in the Ocean Accident Insurance Act passed last year, and also, I think, in another similar Act. The result has been that these particular insurance companies have been given preferential treatment, and are in a much better position than any of the other insurance companies who have not availed themselves of private legislation. It is a curious thing, in regard to this, that private Acts have over-ruled a public Act. There are at present about twenty-five or thirty insurance companies anxious to promote private Bills with the object of contracting out of Lord Campbell's Act and thereby secure equality with the two companies to whom this privilege has been given. The provisions of this Bill are limited to Lord Campbell's Act, and in no way affect any other Acts. I therefore trust your Lordships will see your way to give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Moved, 'That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Granard.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a (according to order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.