1806: 46 George 3 c.37: The Witnesses Act

1806: 46 George 3 c.37:  An act to declare the law with respect to witnesses refusing to answer.

[May 5,1806.]

WHEREAS doubts have arisen whether a witness can by law refuse to answer a question relevant to the matter in issue, the answering of which has no tendency to accuse himself or to expose him to any penalty or forfeiture, but the answering of which may establish, or tend to establish that he owes a debt, or is otherwise suject to a civil suit at the instance of his Majesty, or of some other person or persons; be it therefore declared and enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That a witness cannot by law refuse to answer a question relevant to the matter in issue, the answering of which has no tendency to accuse himself or to expose him to penalty or forfeiture, of any nature whatsoever, by reason only, or on the sole ground, that the answering of such question may establish or tend to establish that he owes a debt, or is otherwise subject to a civil suit, either at the instance of his Majesty, or of any other person or persons.

Source: Pickering, Statutes at large, volume 46.