In 1909 the House of Lords decided, in the famous Osborne Judgment, that a Trade Union, or at all events a Union registered as such under the Trade Union Acts, had no power to take political action, or to spend any of its funds on political objects. The grounds for this decision, which reversed a practice of long standing in many Unions and threatened the entire basis on which the Labour Party was being built up, were by no means clear. Different judges expressed different views. It was argued that it was contrary to public policy that bodies recognised by the State for primarily economic objects should be allowed to assist in the return to the House of Commons of members pledged to follow a definite political policy; and it was also argued that Trade Unions, as associations granted certain privileges by the State for particular purposes, should not be allowed to stray outside the methods of action explicitly specified in the statutes granting them these privileges. Thus on the one hand the Osborne Judgment appeared to rest on a conception of expediency, or public policy; and on the other hand it seemed to be based on a strict interpretation of the legal notion of ultra vires, and on regarding the Trade Union as a body corporate created by Statute, and accordingly incapable of any action which Parliament had not positively recognised as appropriate to it.