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(B): Course of Legislation from Beginning of Twentieth Century - Albert Venn Dicey, Lectures on the Relation between Law and Pubic Opinion during the 19th Century (2nd ed. 1919) 
Lectures on the Relation between Law and Public Opinion in England during the Nineteenth Century (London: Macmillan, 1919). 2nd edition.
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Course of Legislation from Beginning of Twentieth Century
My immediate object is to show that certain well-known Acts of Parliament belong in character to, and are the signs of the power exercised by, the collectivist movement during the first thirteen years of the twentieth century. I venture indeed here to remind my readers that throughout this Introduction, as throughout the whole of this treatise, I am not primarily concerned with stating or commenting upon the often complicated provisions of definite statutes, e.g. the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, or the National Insurance Act, 1911; my aim is always to trace, and as far as I can demonstrate, the close connection between English legislation and the course of legislative opinion in England.
The laws which most directly illustrate the progress of collectivism are the following Acts, taken in several cases together with the amendments thereof: The Old Age Pensions Act, 1908. The National Insurance Act, 1911. The Trade Disputes Act, 1906. The Trade Union Act, 1913. The Acts fixing a Minimum Rate of Wages. The Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906. The Mental Deficiency Act, 1913. The Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1908. The Finance (1909-10) Act, 1910.
The Old Age Pensions Act, 1908.—By the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, any man or woman who has attained the age of 70 years, and who has been a British subject for 20 years up to the date of the receipt of the pension, and who has resided in the United Kingdom for at least 12 years in the aggregate out of such 20 years, and whose yearly means do not exceed £31 : 10s., is, subject to certain disqualifications, entitled to receive at the cost of the State a weekly pension of an amount which varies according to his or her means of from one shilling to five shillings a week.1
This right to a pension is indeed subject to certain disqualifications,1 the principal of which are that a person is in general not entitled to a pension when he is actually in receipt of poor relief, or while he is actually undergoing imprisonment for some serious crime,2 or for ten years after the date on which he has been released from imprisonment for such crime, and that a person is not entitled to a pension if before he becomes so entitled “he has habitually failed to work according to his ability, opportunity, and need, for the maintenance or benefit of himself and those legally dependent upon him.”3 This disqualification, if strictly pressed, might beneficially cut down the number of qualified pensioners, but one may doubt whether, under the present condition of popular feeling, this disqualification will be often enforced.
From the provisions and the tendency of the Old Age Pensions Acts several conclusions worth attention may be drawn: A person, in the first place, may have a full title to a pension though he is an habitual pauper in frequent receipt of poor relief, but prefers to vary the monotony of the poorhouse by occasionally, say in the summer, coming out of the house and relying for support upon his pension and his casual earnings. Then, again, the Old Age Pensions Acts inculcate, by the force both of precept and of example, the belief that the pensioner is in a very different position from a pauper; for sect. 1, sub-sect. 4, enacts that “the receipt of an old age pension under this Act shall not deprive the pensioner of any franchise, right, or privilege, or subject him to any disability.” An old age pensioner, therefore, may even now in conceivable circumstances be entitled to vote for a Member of Parliament and join with friends who are counting on old age pensions after the age of 70, in voting that the title to a pension shall commence with the age of 60. Nor does the evil end with such an exceptional case. It is reasonable to anticipate the establishment in England, as now in our self-governing colonies, in the United States of America, in France, and in the German Empire of Manhood or Universal Suffrage. Now the Old Age Pensions Act is the bestowal by the State of pecuniary aid upon one particular class of the community, namely, the poorer class of wage-earners. It is in essence nothing but a new form of outdoor relief for the poor. Surely a sensible and a benevolent man may well ask himself whether England as a whole will gain by enacting that the receipt of poor relief, in the shape of a pension, shall be consistent with the pensioner’s retaining the right to join in the election of a Member of Parliament?
The amendments, further, of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, tend towards relaxing the terms under which a person becomes entitled to an old age pension. Residence in the United Kingdom for 20 years is now reduced to residence for an aggregate of 12 years during such 20 years; and in some cases residence outside the United Kingdom is sufficient. Hence the following important result: The title to an old age pension hardly depends at all upon the character of the pensioner. The Old Age Pensions Acts, as they now stand, are based upon the belief that in the United Kingdom a really poor man, if he is permanently resident here, is morally entitled to outdoor relief at the rate of five shillings a week on attaining the age of 70. This may or may not be sound moral doctrine, but it is absolutely opposed to the beliefs of the Benthamite Liberals, who, by the enactment in 1834 of the New Poor Law, saved the country districts of England from ruin.
The National Insurance Act, 1911.1 —The attention of my readers ought to be directed exclusively to the aim of the Act and to the administrative methods of the Act.2 They each illustrate the influence of collectivism or socialism on English legislation.
Aim of Act.—The Act3 aims at the attainment of two objects: The first is that, speaking broadly, any person, whether a man or a woman, whether a British subject or an alien,4 who is employed in the United Kingdom under any contract of service, shall, from the age of 16 to 70, be insured against ill-health,5 or, in other words, be insured the means for curing illness, e.g. by medical attendance. The second object is that any such person who is employed in certain employments specified in the Act6 shall be insured against unemployment, or, in other words, be secured support during periods of unemployment.1
The whole drift of the statute, and especially the conditions, exceptions, and limitations contained therein, show2 that the Act founds a system of insurance solely for the advantage of persons who, in popular language, would be described as servants or workmen. The Act is, therefore, on the face of it a piece of legislation which is intended to benefit wage-earners, and especially the poorer classes of wage-earners, who have no income sufficient for their support independent of their power to earn it by personal labour.
Thus under the National Insurance Act the State incurs new and, it may be, very burdensome, duties, and confers upon wage-earners new and very extensive rights. The State in effect becomes responsible for making sure that every wage-earner within the United Kingdom shall, with certain exceptions, be insured against sickness, and, in some special cases, against unemployment. Now before 1908 the question whether a man, rich or poor, should insure his health, was a matter left entirely to the free discretion or indiscretion of each individual. His conduct no more concerned the State than the question whether he should wear a black coat or a brown coat.
But the National Insurance Act will, in the long run, bring upon the State, that is, upon the taxpayers, a far heavier responsibility than is anticipated by English electors. Part I. of the Act, which creates a system of national health insurance, has excited much attention and attack. Part II. of the Act, which introduces for a few trades a system of unemployment insurance, has been little noticed by the public, and has met with little censure; yet national unemployment insurance may well turn out to be a far more hazardous and a far more important experiment than is national health insurance. The risks of ill-health are calculable, the risks of unemployment are hard to calculate. No man prefers illness to health, but many men may prefer unemployment money to wages for hard work. But the importance of unemployment insurance does not end here. It is in fact the admission by the State of its duty to insure a man against the evil ensuing from his having no work. This duty cannot be confined permanently to workmen employed in some seven kinds of work. The authors of the Insurance Act know that this is so; they have provided the means by which the Government of the day can, at any moment, without the need for any Act of Parliament, increase the number of the insured trades. The National Insurance Act admits the so-called “right to work.” There are men still living whose political memory carries them back to 1848. They will recollect that the droit au travail was then one of the war-cries of French socialists, and was in England deemed to be one of the least reasonable of their claims. Nor is it easy to forget the saying attributed to Archbishop Whately, “When a man begs for work he asks not for work but for wages.” However this may be, the statesmen who have introduced unemployment insurance supported by the State have, whether they knew it or not, acknowledged in principle the droit au travail for the sake of which socialists died behind the barricades of June 1848. The National Insurance Act is in accordance with the doctrines of socialism, it is hardly reconcilable with the liberalism, or even the radicalism of 1865.
Administrative Methods of Act.—The methods by which the objects of the Act are to be obtained is marked by characteristics which harmonise with the principle or the sentiment of collectivism.
The National Insurance Act greatly increases both the legislative and the judicial authority of the Government or of officials closely connected with the Government of the day.
Legislative Authority.—Under Part I. of the Act the administration of national health insurance is ultimately placed in the hands of, or controlled by, a new body of insurance commissioners who are appointed by the Treasury. These governmental officials have the power to make regulations for the carrying out of the Act which, if not annulled by the King in Council, become part of the Act itself. The width of this authority can only be realised by considering the language of the National Insurance Act, sect. 65, which runs as follows:
“The Insurance Commissioners may make regulations for any of the purposes for which regulations may be made under this Part [I.] of this Act or the schedules therein referred to, and for prescribing anything which under this Part of this Act or any such schedules is to be prescribed, and generally for carrying this Part of this Act into effect, and any regulations so made shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made, and shall have effect as if enacted in this Act.”
This power to make regulations is probably the widest power of subordinate legislation ever conferred by Parliament upon any body of officials, and these officials, namely, the Insurance Commissioners, are appointed by the Treasury, i.e. by the Government, and are part of our whole governmental system. The regulations made by them come into force immediately after they are made. Any regulation indeed must be laid before each House of Parliament for twenty-one days, and may be annulled by the King in Council on a petition that it shall be annulled being presented within that twenty-one days by either House.1 But any one will note that even such annulling is without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under the annulled regulation. Practically, and with regard to any matter within the terms of Part I., a regulation made by the Commissioners is in reality part of the Act, and noncompliance therewith is made an offence as if it were part of the Act.2
Part II. of the Act contains the law as to unemployment insurance. The administration and management of this part of the Act are placed in the hands of the Board of Trade, or, in other words, of the Government. Now the Board of Trade has a power of making regulations for any of the purposes for which regulations may be made under that part as wide as the power conferred upon the Insurance Commissioners for making regulations with regard to health insurance.1 But the Board of Trade has a further and most important power of adding to the number of insured trades.2 Hence it follows that the Government of the day can of their own authority increase indefinitely the number of insured trades, and apparently extend the provisions as to unemployment insurance to every trade throughout the United Kingdom.3
Judicial Authority.—As to many questions concerning health insurance which may arise under Part I. of the Act, the Insurance Commissioners have judicial authority.4 Any person aggrieved by their decision may appeal to the County Court, with a further right of appeal on any question of law to a judge of the High Court. But this right of appeal has, I am told, been made little or no use of. Under Part II.5 any claim by a workman for unemployment benefit, and any question arising in connection with such claim, are, in the first instance, to be decided by one of the insurance officers, i.e. by officials appointed by and in the service of the Board of Trade. Such decision is subject to an appeal, on the part of the workman making the claim, to a Court of Referees.1 A Court of Referees consists in general of three persons—one drawn by rota from a panel of employers’ representatives, another drawn by rota from a panel of workmen’s representatives, and a Chairman (who must be neither an employer nor a workman in an insured trade)2 appointed by the Board of Trade. On an appeal the Court of Referees may make to the insurance officer such recommendation as they may think proper. The insurance officer, unless he disagrees with the recommendation, must give effect to it. If he disagrees he must, if requested by the Court, refer the recommendation to the umpire. The umpire is a permanent official appointed by His Majesty, i.e. by the Government of the day. The decision of the umpire is final and conclusive, i.e. the jurisdiction of the law Courts is apparently excluded. One such umpire has now been appointed for the whole United Kingdom. An insurance officer however may, if he considers it expedient, instead of determining any claim or question, refer it at once to a Court of Referees, whose decision will be final and conclusive. The result seems to be that this course of procedure by the insurance officer excludes both the jurisdiction of the umpire and of the law Courts.
Neither the Chairman of a Court of Referees, nor even the Umpire, has the security of tenure conferred on every judge of the High Court under the Act of Settlement.
These summary statements of the authority, both legislative and judicial, given to persons or bodies either closely connected with, or subject to, or part of the Government of the day, are enough to prove that the Insurance Act creates in England a system bearing a marked resemblance to the administrative law of France.1 Now administrative law has, it must be admitted, some distinct merits. A law Court is not a body well suited for determining the number2 of disputes or claims which are certain to arise under the National Insurance Act. Legal proceedings, even in the County Courts, must always be slow and relatively expensive. Official proceedings may be rapid and may be rendered not costly to litigants. But administrative law has two defects which have till very recent years forbidden its existence in England. Administrative tribunals always tend to exclude the jurisdiction of the ordinary law Courts. Administrative Courts are always more or less connected with the Government of the day. Their decisions are apt to be influenced by political considerations. Governmental officials cannot have the thorough independence of judges. Both these defects are apparent in the administrative system framed by the authors of the National Insurance Act. We may be certain that the Regulations made or sanctioned by the Government of the day will, whatever party be in office, be occasionally dictated by the desire of every English Ministry to conciliate the goodwill of the electors. It is incredible that quasi-judicial decisions pronounced by the Insurance Commissioners or by the Courts of Referees will not sometimes be influenced by the same desire. There exists special reason to fear the effect of political bias on decisions with regard to unemployment insurance. The question whether workmen are or are not entitled to unemployment benefit may conceivably become very closely connected with their power to carry on a strike with success. A slight legislative change in the terms of one enactment in the National Insurance Act1 might make it possible for strikers to support a contest with their employers by means of money in part supplied by the State. The constitution of the Court of Referees shows that Parliament felt the difficulty of obtaining an impartial decision of the questions which might come before such a Court. It is not equally clear that Parliament has excluded the risk that the action of such an official Court may be swayed by the political principles of the Government which takes part in constituting the Court. An administrative Court is never a completely independent tribunal.
The Trade Disputes Act, 1906.—To a student interested in the course of law and opinion during the twentieth century the character and scope of this statute is summed up in an enactment which runs as follows:
“An action against a trade union, whether of workmen or masters, or against any members or officials thereof on behalf of themselves and all other members of the trade union in respect of any tortious act alleged to have been committed by or on behalf of, the trade union, shall not be entertained by any Court.”1
The direct effect of this enactment is that a trade union, whether of workmen or masters (which may be a very wealthy society), is now absolutely protected from liability to an action for any tort or wrong by or on behalf of the trade union.2 Thus if a trade union possessed, say, of £20,000, causes a libel to be published of A, an employer of labour, or of B, a workman who refuses to join the union, or excites some fanatical ruffians to assault A or B, neither A nor B can maintain an action against the union for the tort, and thereby either vindicate his character or recover a penny of damages.3
This enactment therefore confers upon a trade union a freedom from civil liability for the commission of even the most heinous wrong by the union or its servants, and in short confers upon every trade union a privilege and protection not possessed by any other person or body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporate, throughout the United Kingdom. This is assuredly a very extraordinary state of the law;1 it points towards indirect results which have not yet been fully apprehended by the English public.
(1) It makes a trade union a privileged body exempted from the ordinary law of the land. No such privileged body has ever before been deliberately created by an English Parliament.
(2) It is highly probable that the legal immunities conferred upon trade unions2 may soon be claimed by, and must be conceded to bodies which may not be now technically within the definition of a trade union. Suppose that a tenants’ union were created for the purpose of lowering rents, or a labourers’ union for the purpose of raising the wages of agricultural labourers. It would be difficult indeed to give any sound reason why such union should not, in common with trade unions, be protected against actions for libel or for any other tort.
(3) A tort will sometimes, though not always, involve the wrongdoer in the commission of a crime. A sufferer who finds that he cannot bring an action against a trade union for a gross libel, may be tempted to try whether he may not obtain at least protection by substituting a prosecution for an action. Nothing could from a public point of view be more disastrous. Criminal proceedings are, as compared with civil proceedings, ineffective. For their very severity detracts from their utility. A jury will often hesitate to convict an offender who may have acted from more or less good motives where they would be ready to make him pay damages for the injury done, e.g. by a libel, to an innocent person, and judges rightly frown upon the attempt to turn a tort into a crime. Then, too, punishment for crime falls inevitably within the control of the Crown, or in other words of the Government. Suppose that the leaders of a trade union were convicted as criminals of libel: Is it at all certain that a Government fearing the displeasure of a Labour Party, might not use the Crown’s prerogative of pardon to put an end to the imprisonment of men whom trade unionists held to be martyrs?
(4) An enactment which frees trade unions from the rule of equal law stimulates among workmen the fatal delusion that workmen should aim at the attainment, not of equality, but of privilege. The Trade Disputes Act as a whole, and especially the fourth section thereof, is best described in the words of Sir Frederick Pollock: “Legal science has evidently nothing to do with this violent empirical operation on the body politic, and we can only look to jurisdictions beyond seas for the further judicial consideration of the problems which our Courts [up to 1906] were endeavouring (it is submitted, not without a reasonable measure of success) to work out on principles of legal justice.”1 This is the conclusion of an impartial jurist. Historical fairness requires me to add one reflection. Our Combination law has been from beginning to end vitiated by the delusion that the relation of workmen and masters ought to be regulated by exceptional legislation.2 The unjust severity towards workmen which was embodied in the Combination Act, 1800, is the explanation, though not the excuse, for the unjust favouritism enjoyed by trade unionists under the Trade Disputes Act, 1906.
Every objection which lies against the Trade Disputes Act has received increased force from the passing of—
The Trade Union Act, 1913. In 1909 the Courts unhesitatingly decided that the funds of a trade union3 could not lawfully be applied to the furtherance of political objects.4 This judgment, though approved of by sound lawyers, excited the censure of trade unions. The Trade Union Act, 1913, was passed to reverse or to annul that decision. A trade union has thus power to become an avowedly political association. It is difficult to suppose that men of justice and common sense could maintain that such an association can prudently be relieved from all liability to an action for tort, e.g. for the publication during an election of some gross libel on a candidate whose politics meet with the disapproval of a trade union.5
Acts fixing Minimum Rate of Wages.—Up to the last quarter of the nineteenth century it was the firm conviction of English economists, and of English Liberals, that any attempt to fix by law the rate of wages was an antiquated folly. This belief is no longer entertained by our Parliamentary statesmen. Under the Trade Boards Act, 1909, Trade Boards1 have wide powers for the establishment of minimum rates of wages in certain trades,2e.g. the trade of ready-made and wholesale bespoke tailoring, and the Board of Trade has power by an order which needs confirmation by Parliament, to extend the Act to other trades.3 By the Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) Act, 1912, Parliament has itself fixed a minimum wage for workmen employed underground in coal mines.4
The influence of collectivism on legislation in the twentieth century is curiously traceable in laws enacted since 1900, which, though to a certain extent defensible on Benthamite grounds, would hardly have been passed when Benthamite liberalism was the dominant opinion of the day. The meaning of this statement can be best shown by a few illustrations.
The Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906.—The Elementary Education Act, 1870, was the work of Liberals, and even of Conservatives, who were not consciously influenced by any ideas which could be called socialistic. Whether the Education Act, 1891, which practically relieved parents from the necessity of paying for any part of their children’s elementary education, would have been approved of by the statesmen who passed the Education Act, 1870, may be open to doubt. It is certain that they would have condemned the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906. No one can deny that a starving boy will hardly profit much from the attempt to teach him the rules of arithmetic. But it does not necessarily follow that a local authority must therefore provide every hungry child at school with a meal;1 still less does it seem morally right that a father who first lets his child starve, and then fails to pay the price legally due from him for a meal given to the child at the expense of the rate-payers should, under the Act of 1906, retain the right of voting for a Member of Parliament.2 Why a man who first neglects his duty as a father and then defrauds the State should retain his full political rights is a question easier to ask than to answer.
Take again The Mental Deficiency Act, 1913. Most of its provisions for the protection of defectives, both from themselves and from their neighbours, recommend themselves to common sense. They would probably have been welcomed by a humanitarian and a jurist, such as Bentham. Yet the Act would hardly have been passed by the Parliament, say of 1860. The interference which it involves with the dangerous liberty of defectives would at least have raised suspicion in the minds of men who had hailed the individualism of Mill’s Liberty with indiscriminating applause. They would have felt that the measure was open to one serious objection. The Mental Deficiency Act is the first step along a path on which no sane man can decline to enter, but which, if too far pursued, will bring statesmen across difficulties hard to meet without considerable interference with individual liberty.
The Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1908. The long line of Factory Acts stretches back to 1802,1 when Toryism was dominant. Factory legislation for the protection of children and women was made an essential part of English law at the time when individualistic liberalism was the received creed of educated Englishmen. Even here modern collectivism has given a new turn to old legislation. The Factory Acts interfered little, if at all, with the right of a workman of full age to labour for any number of hours agreed upon between him and his employer. But the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1908, prohibits, subject to certain limitations, the employment of workmen in coal mines for more than eight hours during any consecutive twenty-four hours, and imposes a penalty upon any man, including the workman himself,2 who contravenes the provisions of the Act.
The Finance (1909-10) Act, 1910.—From, at any rate, 1845, till towards the close of the nineteenth century a taxing Act was generally held open to censure if it imposed a special burden upon one class of the community; it was still more generally agreed that taxation should be imposed mainly, one might almost say exclusively, to meet the financial wants of the State.1 Retrenchment and economy in short were considered to be the appropriate virtues of a Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now the Finance Act, 1910, imposed various new taxes, such as Increment Value Duty, or Income-tax in the shape of Super-tax on incomes over £5000; but the essential characteristic of the Act lies not in its imposition of a heavy burden of taxation, but in its violation of the two principles which had been on the whole respected by Chancellors of the Exchequer during the greater part of the nineteenth century. It imposes specially heavy taxes upon the rich, and upon landowners. It is also an Act passed not for the mere purpose of raising needful revenue, but with the aim of promoting social or political objects. Undeveloped land duty, for example, is imposed, partly at any rate, for the purpose of compelling or inducing a landowner to erect dwelling-houses or buildings which may be useful as habitations or places of business, though he might himself prefer to leave his land open as a field or garden. Whether such filling up of open spaces might always be an advantage to the public I do not care to consider; all I insist upon is the plain fact, that the Finance Act, 1910, is a law passed not merely to raise the revenue necessary for meeting the wants of the State, but also for the attainment of social ends dear to collectivists.
This feature in the Act may give rise to serious reflection. It sets a precedent for the use of taxation for the promotion of political or social ends. Such taxation may easily become the instrument of tyranny. Thus revolutionists bent on the nationalisation of land might, by heavy taxation, beat down its value in the hands of a private owner till he is willing to sell it far below its real worth. Revolution is not the more entitled to respect because it is carried through not by violence, but under the specious though delusive appearance of taxation imposed to meet the financial needs of the State.
[1 ]The scale is as follows:
See sects. 1, 2, and Schedule.
[1 ]For the details as to disqualification see Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, sect. 3, and Old Age Pensions Act, 1911, sect. 4.
[2 ]Sect. 3, sub-sect. 1 (c), and sub-sect. 2.
[3 ]Sect. 3, sub-sect. 1 (b).
[1 ]Students who need information on the details of the Act should consult the Law relating to National Insurance, by G. H. Watts.
[2 ]The mode in which the cost of health insurance and unemployment insurance is in part undertaken by the State, and in part imposed upon employers and upon the workmen or servants who are insured, has a socialistic character. But this feature in the Insurance Act has been amply noticed, and it is hardly worth while here to insist upon it.
[3 ]As amended by the National Insurance Act, 1913, and applied by numerous regulations.
[4 ]An alien does not in all cases get the same advantage from insurance as a British subject. See Act, sect. 45, and Watts, National Insurance, pp. 45, 46.
[5 ]See Act, Part I. sects. 1-83.
[6 ]Ibid. sect. 84, and Sixth Schedule.
[1 ]For unemployment insurance see Part II. sects. 84-107.
[2 ]E.g. by the fact that the Act does not in general, at any rate as to health insurance, benefit any one who has an income of £160 a year and upwards, though it does apply to any person who by way of manual labour earns an income however large, e.g. £200 a year. See First Schedule, Part II. (g), and Watts, National Insurance, p. 280.
[1 ]See sect. 65, proviso.
[2 ]Sect. 69, sub-sect. 2. Compare further as to legislative powers of the Commissioners, Act, sects. 7, 15, 27, and Insurance Act, 1913, sect. 19.
[1 ]See sect. 91.
[2 ]See sect. 103, and Sixth Schedule. Nor does the proviso to sect. 103 materially restrict the power of the Government to make an order including a new trade, unless indeed it should happen that the person holding an inquiry with relation to the order reports that the order should not be made.
[3 ]See sect. 113 as to the necessity of the order being laid before either House of Parliament.
[4 ]See sects. 66, 67. Compare, however, Regulations of June 5, 1912, in App. I., Watts, p. 299.
[5 ]“All claims for unemployment benefit under this part of this Act, and all questions whether the statutory conditions are fulfilled in the case of any workman claiming such benefit, or whether those conditions continue to be fulfilled in the case of a workman in receipt of such benefit, or whether a workman is disqualified for receiving or continuing to receive such benefit, or otherwise arising in connection with such claims, shall be determined by one of the officers appointed [under Part II.] of this Act for determining such claims for benefit (in this Act referred to as ‘insurance officers’).” Act, sect. 88 (1).
[1 ]Act, sect. 88, proviso (a). There are about seventy such Courts constituted under the Act.
[2 ]See Act, sect. 90, and Parliamentary Paper (B 16).
[1 ]See, as to French droit administratif, Law of the Constitution, ch. xii.
[2 ]The number of claims to unemployment benefit may vary from, e.g., 20,000 to 40,000 claims in each week, involving payments at the rate of seven shillings for each week of unemployment.
[1 ]See sect. 87 (1), and as to the claim made by workmen to unemployment benefit during a strike, the Times, January 27, 30, and February 3, 1914. The insurance officer in this case did not allow the claim, and his decision was, rightly it would seem, upheld by the Court of Referees. Note further that from an insurance officer’s decision in favour of a claim by a workman to unemployment benefit there is no appeal.
[1 ]Sect. 4 (1). I have purposely criticised the Trade Disputes Act solely with reference to this enactment. Sections 1, 2, and 3 are (it is submitted) based on an erroneous principle, but one’s judgment of the Act must depend upon one’s approval or condemnation of sect. 4.
[2 ]Whether an action might not be maintained against trustees of the Union? (see Linaker v. Pilcher (1901), 17 T.L.R. 256). But the funds could not be got at if the tort was committed in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.
[3 ]Vacher v. London Society of Compositors , A.C. 107. He might possibly vindicate his character by bringing an action against the actual publisher, e.g. a penniless printer, from whom he could recover neither damages nor the costs of the action.
[1 ]My learned friend, Professor Geldart, who is one of the ablest and the fairest of the commentators upon our Combination law, and who does not agree with most of my strictures upon the Trade Disputes Act, has expressed his opinion that the enactment in question (i.e. sect. 4, sub-sect. 1) is “contrary to justice and expediency.” (See the Times, March 18, 1912.)
[2 ]See the Trade Union Act, 1913, sect. 2, for a new definition of trade union and for power of Registrar of Friendly Societies to register a combination as a trade union, and to give a conclusive certificate that a trade union is a trade union within the meaning of the Act.
[1 ]Pollock, Law of Torts (8th ed.), p. v.
[2 ]See pp. 266-273, post.
[3 ]The position of an unregistered union is not quite clear.
[4 ]Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants v. Osborne , A.C. 87.
[5 ]The Act of 1913 not only authorises trade unions under considerable restrictions to pursue political objects, but authorises them without any restriction to devote their funds to any other lawful objects whatever. In the pursuit of these objects they would be entitled to the immunity given them by the Trade Disputes Act, 1906, sect. 4, from actions for torts.
[1 ]Trade Boards Act, sect. 1.
[2 ]Ibid. sect. 4.
[3 ]Ibid. sect. 1, sub-sect. 2.
[4 ]I have purposely omitted details as to the mode in which minimum wages are to be fixed by law. For my present purpose the importance of any Minimum Wage Act is the admission of Parliament that wages can rightly be fixed by law and not by the mere haggling of the market.
[1 ]See Act, 1906, sect. 3.
[2 ]Ibid. sect. 4.
[1 ]See pp. 220-240, post.
[2 ]See Act, 1908, sect. 7.
[1 ]Compare Bernard Mallet, British Budgets, 1887-1913, Preface, p. vii.