HC Deb 10 February 1837 vol 36 cc411-2
The Lord Advocate

moved the second reading of the Court of Session (Scotland) Bill.

Mr. Wallace

hoped that the learned Lord intended this Bill but as introductory to further measures; for unless something were done to remove the evils in the Scotch Courts, which were, he might say, recognised in the present Bill, he (Mr. Wallace) should feel it his duty to take up the subject, with a view to completing these reforms. There was very much that was reprehensible in the present system of taking evidence in some of the Scotch Courts; viva voce evidence was entirely excluded from the supreme courts, a practice that prevailed in no other Court in the universe, he believed, except, indeed, the English Court of Chancery, which had always been an exception to every sound rule of jurisprudence. If the Lord Advocate did not bring in a Bill to allow viva voce evidence to be given in the Court of Session, he (Mr. Wallace) would do so himself.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

defended the Report of the Commissioners. He admitted that it might be well to allow viva voce evidence to be taken in the Court of Session, but it was necessary that the greatest caution should be exercised in making the change.

The Lord Advocate

was satisfied that the country was under great obligations to the Commissioners who drew up the Report. He was happy to find that the general merits of the Bill were admitted by all parties. The change proposed by his hon. Friend, the Member for Green-ock, was one which did not come within the scope of the present Bill.

Bill read a second time.