§ (1.) On the commencement of this Act the Court of the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries shall cease to exist except for the purpose of continuing and concluding proceedings pending in that Court at that date, and as from that date all jurisdiction and powers of the said Court and its officers shall, except as aforesaid, he transferred to and vested in such of the County Courts as the Lord Chancellor may by Order direct, and be exercised subject to and in accordance with Rules of Court for regulating the procedure in County Courts.
§ (2.) Provision may be made by Order of the Lord Chancellor—
- (a) for determining by, to, or before what officer, or in what office, may be done anything required to be done by, to, or before any officer or in any office of the said Court of the Vice-Warden;
- (b) for transferring to a County Court any proceedings pending in the said Court at the commencement of this Act;
- (c) for determining the place of sitting for the exercise of any jurisdiction transferred by this Act;
- (d) with respect to the use and disposal of any property which at the commencement of this Act is held for the use of the said Court or of any officer of the said Court, and of any room or building which at that date is appropriated for the use of the said Court or of the Vice-Warden, officers, and suitors thereof; and
- (e) with respect to the custody of any records which at that date are under the custody of the said Court.
§ Question again proposed, "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
called attention to a provision in one of the sub-sections to the effect that the Lord Chancellor might, by order, determine what officer should be intrusted with the duties at present performed by the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries Court. That was an extraordinary proposal, and one of such a character, which he believed had never 1515 before been submitted to the House. It proposed, not that the functions of Vice-Warden should be transferred to a particular officer, but that the Lord Chancellor should practically have the power to appoint such officer and determine his functions, and that legislation should be taken out of the hands of Parliament, and left entirely to the Lord Chancellor. This was not the first abolition of an anomalous Court, but in no other case was it left to the Lord Chancellor or any other official, not only to appoint the new officer but to determine and limit his functions. The next sub-section of the clause transferred the jurisdiction of the Stannaries Court to the County Court. Nothing was gained by the abolition of those old Courts, which had adapted themselves by the experience of centuries to local needs. Similar proceedings had taken place in regard to local courts in Wales, at the beginning of the century. The change had not worked well. It meant the transfer of trials of cases, which would be much better decided on the spot, to London, practically, to the detriment of our judicial system, and considerable losses to the suitors. The House ought to object to this new system of legislation, which was a dangerous innovation. He further reminded the First Lord of the Treasury that to take such legislation as this, was contrary to the promise made when he proposed to abrogate the Twelve o'clock Rule.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said he did not mean to examine the arguments of the hon. Member, nor to deal with the motives which had prompted the speech he had made. He agreed that the House ought not to be called upon at that hour to discuss this Bill, or any other business at length. In these circumstances, and seeing the spirit in which the Bill was opposed—he believed it to be a non-contentious measure—he moved to report progress.
§ MR. ARTHUR STRAUSS (Cornwall, Camborne)
said this Bill was of immense importance to his constituency, and he hoped the Government would find time this week to pass the Bill. It was absolutely necessary for the welfare of the Cornish mining industry, that the Bill should pass this Session.
§ MR. W. A. McARTHUR (Cornwall, St. Austell)
hoped that an understanding 1516 would be come to that this useful Bill, with regard to which the Cornish Members were unanimous, would be passed this Session.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said if an understanding was come to he should be delighted to proceed with the Bill.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again To-morrow.