HC Deb 27 May 1830 vol 24 cc1145-6

Mr. Brougham presented a Petition from the incorporated Society of Solicitors of the Consistorial Court of Scotland against the Scotch Judicature Bill.

Mr. Cutlar Ferguson

briefly supported the prayer of the Petition. The proposed measure would very much increase the expense.

Mr. John Stewart

said, the provisions of the Bill were very little known in Scotland, and that if they were well known there would be many petitions against it.

Mr. Brougham

then said, that he had a Petition to present on the same subject from the Dean and Faculty of Advocates of Edinburgh, and he felt highly flattered in having been selected for the purpose of presenting the Petition by so distinguished a body. In the present instance all that the petitioners asked was, that the measure might be allowed to stand over till the next Session, suggesting that all the improvements of which it was susceptible might then be made. They wished not to be understood as being by any means unfavourable to the principle of the Bill, for, on the contrary, they were all, with seven or eight exceptions, most favourable to it—the only thing they desired being some further delay, so that the details might be duly considered.

The Lord Advocate

felt very happy at seeing such a spirit of honourable independence evinced by the learned body from whom this Petition came, more especially when he considered that one great object of the Bill was to do away with a number of useless places, which the mem- bers of that body might be supposed to have an interest still to keep up. As the Jury bill was so soon to expire, he thought it necessary to press the measure without delay.

Mr. Cutlar Ferguson

could not see that the learned Lord had any occasion to be in a hurry on that account, as the Jury bill would not expire before the end of the next Session.

Sir C. Forbes

was opposed to the principle of making it obligatory upon Scotch Juries to be unanimous in their verdicts. From the information he had received, he believed that the people of Scotland were by no means favourably disposed to the measure.

Mr. Kennedy

supported the Bill, and said that much inconvenience would be experienced if it were not carried through as soon as possible.

Sir R. Peel

said, he felt bound to commend the liberality of the learned professions, not only in this, but in all other instances that had come to his knowledge. There was no error more vulgar than that which would impute interested motives to the members of those professions when the public good was concerned. He was enabled to state from experience that he had received essential assistance from members of the legal and medical profession in some public measures upon which he had consulted them.

Mr. Brougham

said, he felt pride in bearing testimony to the liberality with which the parties were actuated on the present occasion. Though all their personal interests would be directly injured by the proposed measure, yet they never once suffered their minds to be warped in the conclusion at which they had arrived with regard to it. This was a test to which the members of the legal profession in England had not yet been put, but he hoped that, when they were put to it, they would follow the example of their brethren in Scotland.

Petition to be printed.