§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, you will expect me to say a few words in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, because a Bill of this kind has not been proposed for nearly twenty years past. The object of the Bill is to eliminate dead matter from the Statute Book and make it possible to publish revised Statutes containing only living laws. The first Statute Law Revision Act was passed seventy-one years ago, in 1856. That Act repealed 120 obsolete Acts, and the Act of 1861 repealed 900. The result of this and later Statutes of the same kind, of which the last was passed in 1908, was to bring the revision down to the end of the reign of Queen Victoria and to reduce the Statutes at large, which I suppose covered 150 volumes or more, to twenty volumes in all. Now the Committee have revised the Statutes from 1900 to 1920 and have reduced the twenty volumes of those Statutes to three, partly, no doubt, because they contain a good deal of War legislation which is no longer in force. The Bill contains the usual safeguard—a very efficient safeguard— 864 the drafting of which is attributed to Lord Westbury a good many years ago, and which has remained in all these Bills ever since.
I need only mention one point in regard to Ireland. Some of the legislation in these twenty years affects only the Irish Free State—for instance, the Act relating to the Dublin police, the Congested Districts Act and so on. It is proposed to authorise the omission of those Statutes from the revision, but, of course, it is proposed to keep everything that affects the relations between the Free State and the United Kingdom. Let me add one word concerning the proposed editions of the revised Statutes. This Bill will enable the statute Law Committee to complete the second edition of the revised Statutes down to the end of the year 1920, and they propose then to make a further revision from the beginning with a view to the publication of a third edition at a price to bring it within the means of all who are likely to require it. I take this opportunity of congratulating the Committee upon the success of their arduous work, and I hope that your Lordships will give a Second Reading to this Bill.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, there is no doubt that a Bill of this kind is most salutary, and we very heartily support it.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.
§ Moved, That the Bill be referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and ordered accordingly.