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Supreme Court Of Judicature (Ireland) Bill—(Lords)—Bill 161

Volume 229: debated on Monday 12 June 1876

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( Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland.)

Second Reading

Order for Second Reading read.

, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that a full opportunity would be given at a Morning Sitting for discussing the measure on the Motion that the Speaker leave the Chair. The main object of the Bill was to extend to Ireland the great and beneficial change already effected for England—namely, that Equity and Common Law should be concurrently administered. There were peculiar facilities for carrying out this reform in Ireland, as all the Judges who adorned the Bench in that country had, when at the Bar, practised both in the Common Law and Equity Courts; and all those Courts were already gathered under one roof in the same building. As to the main objects of the Bill there could, he believed, be no controversy; that could only arise as to the machinery intended for carrying them out, and such questions could best be discussed in Committee. He would, therefore, at present simply move the second reading.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—( Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland.)

:said, he did not intend to oppose the Motion, for in his opinion it was desirable that the changes made in the system of Judicature in England should be introduced without further delay in the Irish Judicature also. There were, however, some points to which he wished to call attention. It was in Ireland of even more importance than it was in England that there should be a strong Court of Intermediate Appeal, and he therefore objected to the exclusion from it of the Master of the Rolls. He objected also to the proposal of making the Probate Judge a merely nominal Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. They should, he thought, transfer not only the Judge, but also the Probate jurisdiction to that Court, and leave it to the Judges to arrange among themselves for the transaction of that as well as other business. A similar objection lay to making the surviving Bankruptcy Judge a merely nominal Judge of the Court of Exchequer; to which he might add the observation that the jurisdiction was one which belonged more naturally to the Court of Chancery. The Treasury, too, he found, was not only to fix the salaries of officers, but was also to inter- fere in the internal arrangement of their duties, as if the Irish Judges could not be entrusted to perform that business for themselves. This had not been attempted in England, and he objected to its being done in Ireland.

objected to certain details of the Bill, more especially to the provision relating to the proposed re-construction of the Common Pleas Division of the High Court of Justice. More Judges ought to be secured for it, especially seeing it had to do Election Petitions.

thought the Judges of the Landed Estates Court would be placed in an unfair position by the Bill. All the Judges ought to be in the same position with regard to all matters, as they were all members of the Supreme Court.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.

Supply Report

Resolutions [8th June] reported.

called attention to the transfer of Votes involving increase of expenditure from Class 5 to Class 1. The complaint was that this year, for the first time, the house-rents for some of our Ministers abroad had been transferred from the Vote for the Diplomatic Service to the Vote for the Office of Works, and that some of these votes had been "surreptitiously" increased without any sufficient reason and without explanation, and this change, he contended, was contrary to the practice of the House and to a formal Resolution, if not, indeed, in contravention of an Act of Parliament. He would conclude by moving, on account of the lateness of the hour, that the House do adjourn.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That this House do now adjourn."—( Sir Henry Drummond Wolff.)

denied that there had been any attempt on the part of the Government to take the House by surprise and smuggle the Estimates through. The Vote he referred to, that for the Legation House at Brussels, was No. 25, and the particulars of it were fully set forth in the Estimates. The facts were these—The lease, which had been held by the Government and not by the Minister, had expired. It was proposed that the Government should purchase the house: but on the report of an officer of the Board of Works, who was sent over to make inquiry, it was determined to take another lease for a period of years at a rent of £720. They might have been wrong, but they acted on the best authority, and the course taken with regard to the Votes was taken on the advice and at the request of the Controller and Auditor General. He would not notice the tone of his hon. Friend, but so long as he held his present position he would always endeavour to give to the House, and to every hon. Member the fullest information on every Vote in his power. He hoped the House would acquit him of the charge of evasion which the hon. Member had brought againt him.

explained that he made no charge of evasion against the Secretary of the Treasury; but he did against the Foreign Office, and that charge he repeated.

thought the hon. Member for Christchurch had done good service by calling attention to a total increase of £2,000 in the Vote for the Brussels Embassy, of which there was no trace in the Votes.

defended the course which had been taken, and which, he said, had been taken at the instance of the Auditor and Controller General. As regarded the Legation House at Brussels, he would remind the House that rents had gone up all over the Continent. It was now for the House to decide upon whether they were to follow the course recommended by the Auditor General or revert to the old one.

denied that there had been any attempt at evasion. It would be easy to show by a note in Class 5 what changes were going on. If, however, the House desired it, the whole of these expenses should be set forth under Class 5 in the Estimates.

In reply to Mr. C. B. DENISON,

stated the Supplemental Estimate for the new road at Hyde Park Corner could not be brought forward until about the 9th of July; but the model and plans of the road would be deposited in the Library of the House; and though he could not order a census of the traffic at that point to be taken, the Commissioners of Police would no doubt be ready to undertake it.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Resolution agreed to.

Suez Canal (Shares) Bill

On Motion of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Bill for making provision respecting Shares in the Capital of the Universal Company of the Maritime Canal of Suez, acquired on behalf of the Crown, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. William Henry Smith.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 189.]

House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock.