§ MR. R. H. PAGET
said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department a Question of which he had given him private Notice. He wished to ask Whether the Government are prepared to abandon Clause 15 in the Supreme Court of Judicature Bill? They had been assured by the Prime Minister that nothing of a controversial matter would be taken during the remainder of the Session. This question of the Assizes was a matter with regard to which there was considerable controversy.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
, in reply, said, he could not admit that this clause in the Bill came within the rule that the Prime Minister laid down. There were very few Bills with regard to which there was not some controversy, and it would be an unreasonable construction to put on the Prime Minister's words that no Bill which might give rise to some discussion should be proceeded with. He was unwilling to put anyone to inconvenience, and was, therefore, extremely anxious that the question involved in the clause should be settled, for it was promoted really at the instance of a number of persons who had suffered very much inconvenience. First of all, there were the Judges who were sent to places where they were not wanted; and the Grand Juries were put to an immense deal of inconvenience for the purpose of holding a number of Assizes, where, by a matter of arrangement, there might be a greater economy of judicial power and saving of the time of all classes of the community. That was an object well worth attaining, and the clause would attain it. After the matter was fully discussed, he believed, in spite of some little amour propre felt by localities, that some better system would be found by which the public time would be saved and greater economy ensured. If the clause was postponed to a future period, he hoped they would hear nothing more of those representations by county gentlemen on the subject of frequent Assizes, because by dropping the clause, they would lose the remedy which the Government was prepared to make for them.