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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

15 JUL 2011

Insolvency and Hansard: 1803-2005

The Hansard Digitisation Project has now been completed. This means that the world famous record of Parliamentary proceedings is now available to search online. The dataset sits from 1803 until 2005. This is obviously a brilliant resource for insolvency scholars. As all the major acts, i.e. 1869, 1883, 1914, 1986, 2000, 2002, etc, have substantial entries. I will replicate only one here and that relates to Mr Basil Montagu QC (1870-1851), the father of modern insolvency law. Mr William Wilberforce is recorded in a debate on the abolition of the death penalty as saying (2nd March 1819):

"He remembered very well the mode which was suggested by Mr. Bentham, for whose able opinions on this subject the country was so much indebted; and in speaking of his great merits, he could not omit to notice another gentleman who had also written upon the subject—Mr. Basil Montagu. To both those gentlemen the country owed much for what they had written on this subject; and when he found such men, in the present day, supported by such authorities as Sir Thomas More, Erasmus, Bacon, and Lord Coke—when he found all these condemning and describing as extremely erroneous, the system of severe punishment, instead of the mild course of endeavouring to remove the crime..."

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