§ (The Lord Privy Seal, Earl Cadogan.)
§ (NO. 63.) SECOND READING.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (Earl CADOGAN)
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that the primary object of the measure was to effect arrangements which would render it unnecessary to fill up the vacancy in the Irish Court of Common Pleas caused by the elevation of Chief Justice Morris. The Bill would abolish the office of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas Division, and substitute a Puisne Judge for the Chief Justice. It provided, in similar manner, that when a vacancy should occur in the office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer, that office should also be abolished, and that a Puisne Judge should be substituted in place of the Chief Baron. The two Divisions would be merged in the Queen's Bench Division; the merger operating immediately in the case of the Court of Common Pleas, and in the case of the Exchequer on the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of Chief Baron. Two or three years ago Mr. Childers had introduced in "another place" a measure for the re-adjustment of judicial offices in Ireland. That measure had a larger scope than the present one, and it was the intention of the Government to legislate upon its lines when a fitting opportunity should present itself. In the meanwhile, he would ask the House to read the present Bill a second time.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Privy Seal.)1240
, in moving, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months, said, that if it were passed, it would have results analogous to those effected in this country by the Judicature Act, which, he affirmed, had not been a success. As the result of the abolition of the old Courts great confusion had been introduced into the cause lists, and, in consequence, suitors in England never knew what their exact position was. He feared that similar inconvenience would be caused in Ireland by the abolition of the old distinctions between the Courts. It would also interfere with the dispensation of patronage. The present system had worked well; and he felt it to be his duty to oppose the Bill, and to point out evils which would follow from its passing into law. At all events, such a measure ought not to be passed until the office of Chief Baron became vacant.
§ Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and insert ("this day six months.")—(The Lord Denman.)
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he would suggest that the Committee stage should not be taken before Friday. The measure, which went much further than was originally intended, and provided for the assimilation of the judicature of Ireland—and created a large Queen's Bench Division—to that of England, was right in principle, and he hoped his noble Friend (Lord Denman) would not persevere with his Amendment.
§ EARL SPENCER
said, he thought that this question of law reform in Ireland was a very important one. It was a field in which Her Majesty's Government might do very large and useful work. As far as he understood the Bill, it met with his entire approval; for it really put the Law Divisions in Ireland in the same position in which they were now placed in this country. He should have been glad if the measure had gone rather further in the direction of the Bill introduced in 1885 in the House of Commons by one of his Colleagues, and he thought that in Committee the Government could with advantage consent to its amendment. However, he accepted the assurance of his noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal, that Her Majesty's Government were not 1241 disposed to oppose proposals to carry law reform in Ireland still further.
said, he objected to the abolition of these offices in England, and still retained his opinions. He, however, would withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Friday next.