HC Deb 15 December 1831 vol 9 c297

The Lord Advocate rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill to regulate the Court of Exchequer in Scotland, with a view to its abolition. It was proposed ultimately to abolish that Court, because it had little or no business to perform. It was not necessary that he should enter into the subject, as it had been discussed last Session. The reason why the Court was not abolished at once was, that if that were done, each of the Barons would have a right to draw the whole of his salary, while by holding out inducements for them to retire, some part of that might be saved. To show the little use of the Court, he would just remark, that the number of defended causes in twenty years was 134, or about six and a half per year; during the last ten years, the average had been only four causes a year; and in the last two years there had been only one defended cause before the Court. To get through these duties, the Court consisted of a Chief Baron and three puisne Barons; the Chief Baron had a salary of 4,000l. a year, and the other Barons 2,000l. a year each. In one of the Returns, indeed, he found that there were brought into Court 5,700 causes, but four-fifths of these were admonitions to pay money, and never were prepared for trial at all. About 1,450 real causes were brought into Court, but a great many of them were compositions, and never brought to trial. These statements showed, that the Court had little or nothing to do. The Bill was in every respect the same as that which had proceeded through so many of its stages, and been so fully discussed during the last Session, and as the facts on which the alteration was founded were wholly untouched, he apprehended that all who regarded the maintenance of the dignity and respectability of a Court of Justice would be willing to put an end to a system so useless, discreditable, and extravagant. He would conclude, therefore, by moving merely for leave to bring in a Bill for the better disposal of the business in the Court of Exchequer in Scotland.—Leave given.