HC Deb 26 July 1839 vol 49 cc909-13

House in Committee on the Metropolitan Police Courts' Bill.

On clause 4,

Mr. Law

proposed to amend this clause by requiring that barristers to be appointed magistrates under the bill should be of "ten" instead of "seven" years' standing, and that they should hold office during good behaviour. When he considered the extraordinary powers that were to be vested in those magistrates, and when he looked at what they had clone with respect to all the corporations of the kingdom, he thought that these offices should be held upon at least the same tenure as that of recorder throughout the country. This bill proposed to supersede the functions of a common jury, and enable a single justice to convict her Majesty's subjects of felony. The public interest demanded, therefore, such a selection of barristers should be made as would com- mand not only the respect of the public, but of the profession, and most particularly that they should not be removeable unless upon some good cause. He would not propose the tenure of judges, but merely "during good behaviour."

Mr. Wakley

objected to the Secretary of State being limited in his choice to gentlemen of the bar. Why should they be bound to appoint lawyers, if other men, equally qualified, could be found? And in his opinion nothing could be easier than to find men quite as well qualified as lawyers were. No men to be met with in society were so utterly destitute of common sense as lawyers. One day they were engaged in showing that truth was falsehood, the next in proving that falsehood was truth; their understandings, therefore, became so perverted, that they ever afterwards found the greatest difficulty in separating the one from the other. The effect of such measures as this would be to convert the whole bar into a set of Government toadeaters. The question was one of great importance, and he was resolved to divide the House upon it. He concluded by moving that the words, "barrister of seven years' standing" be expunged.

Mr. Law

said, he should vindicate the honourable profession of the law from assaults made upon it by the Coroner for Middlesex. The hon. Member had, perhaps, some misgiving respecting the office of coroner, and might, possibly, be apprehensive that at some future time a bill might be introduced declaring that none but Members of the legal profession should fill that office. In general, animals that were hunted felt a strong antipathy to those which hunted them—some persons there were who felt an antipathy to lawyers, and some even who hated judges.

Amendment withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the bill.

On clause 5,

Mr. Law moved the addition of the following words:—"And be it enacted that such magistrates so to be appointed shall hold their offices during good behaviour."

Mr. Kemble

thought as the judges of the land had been rendered independent of the Crown, and as one of the objects of this bill was to improve the character of the magisterial bench, the persons ap- pointed under it should not be liable to removal at the will of any individual. He should support the amendment.

The Committee divided on the amendment:—Ayes 25; Noes 84:—Majority 59

List of the AYES.
Alsager, Captain Hope, hon. C.
Broadley, H. Lowther, hon. Colonel
Bruges, W. H. L. Lygon, hon. General
Buller, Sir J. Y. Mathew, G. B
Burroughes, H. N. Pakington, J. S.
Cochrane, Sir T. J. Plumptre, J. P.
Cooper, E. J. Round, J.
Darby, G. Sheppard, T.
Egerton, W. T. Sibthorp, Colonel
Fielden, J. Vere, Sir C. B.
Filmer, Sir E. Wood, Colonel T.
Grimsditch, T. TELLERS.
Halford, H. Law, hon. C. E
Hodgson, R. Kemble, H.

*The Noes may be ascertained by referring to the subsequent lists.

Clause agreed to.

On the 10th Clause,

And on the question that the blank relating to the salary of the chief magistrate be filled up with the words 1,400l. a-year.

Mr. Hume

expressed his opinion that the advance of the salaries of the police magistrates from 800l. to 1,200l. a-year was too much. He thought, too, that 1,200l. was enough for the chief magistrate instead of 1,400l. He moved that the blank be filled up with 1,200l.

Mr. F. Maule

said, that the amount of these salaries had not been fixed without reference to the evidence given before the Committee. As the police magistrates would have to attend every day at their courts from ten o'clock in the morning till five or six in the afternoon, 1,200l. a-year was not too high a salary for them. The chief magistrate had now 1,200l. a-year, which was just 400l. a-year more than the other police magistrates received al present.

Mr. Hawes

said, 1,200l. a-year was not more than was given to other public officers not filling either such important or such laborious offices. The police magistrate must be a barrister and a gentleman, and must have a decent salary. The House was about to extend the duties of those officers, and to render them more responsible for the execution of those duties. He would rather cut down the salaries of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice than the salaries of these magistrates.

Mr. Grote

was of opinion that 1,200l. a-year was not too large a salary for the police magistrates, but would not make any difference between the chief and the other magistrates.

Committee divided on the original motion:—Ayes 46; Noes 62; Majority 16.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Parker, J.
Adam, Admiral Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Anson, hon. Col. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Baring, F. T. —Pinney, W.
Barnard, E. G. Protheroe, E.
Cavendish, hon. C. Rice, rt. hn. T. S.
Chichester, J. P. B. Russell, Lord J.
—Clements, Viscount Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.
Eliot, Lord Sanford, E. A.
Ferguson, Sir R. —Scholefield, J.
French, F. Smith, R. V.
Grey, rt. hn. Sir G. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Hope, hon. C. Steuart, R.
Howick, Viscount Stock, Dr.
Hutton, R. Talbot, C. R. M.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Law, hon. C. E. Warburton, H.
Macauley, T. B. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Maule, hon. F. *Wood, C.
Meynell, Captain Wood Colonel
Morpeth, Viscount Wood, G. W.
O'Connell, D.
O'Connell, J. TELLERS.
—O'Connell, M. J. Solicitor-General, The
O'Ferrall, R. M. Buller, C.
List of the NOES.
*Aglionby, H. A. Hinde, J. H.
Alsager, Captain *Hodges, T. L.
*Archdall, M. Hodgson, R.
*Bramston, T. W. Holmes, W.
Bridgeman, H. Howard, P. H.
Broadley, H. Jervis, S.
*Brocklehurst, J. Johnson, General
Brotherton, J. Kemble, H.
Bryan, G. Langdale, hon. C.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Lowther, Viscount
Burrell, Sir C. *Lushington, C.
Burroughes, H. N. Mathew, G. B.
*Cooper, E. J. Morris, D.
Darby, G. Pakington, J. S.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Palmer, C. F.
Duncombe, T. *Pechell, Captain
Egerton, W. T. *Phillips, M.
*Elliot, hon. J. E. *Pigot, D. R.
Fulmer, Sir E. Plumptre, J. P.
Forester, hon. G. —Redington, T. N
Freemantle, Sir T. Round, J.
*Greenaway, C. Seale, Sir J. H.
Grimsditch, T. Sheppard, T.
*Grote, G. Somerset, Lord G.
Hall, Sir B. Spry, Sir S. T.
*Hawes, B. Stanley, hon. W. O
Hector, C. J. *Strutt, E.
Teignmouth, Lord Williams, W.
Turner, W. Wood, Colonel T.
Vere, Sir C. B.
Vigors, N. A. TELLERS.
Wakley, T. Sibthorpe, Colonel
Wallace, R. Hume, J.

—Absent on the second division 5.

*Voted with the Ayes on the second division 15; with the Noes 1. There were present on the second division, and not on the first, Fielding, J., Graham, Sir J., and Gordon, hon. Captain. The two former voted with the Noes, the latter with the Ayes.

Blank filled up with the sum of 1,200l.

The Committee again divided on the question that the blank for the salaries of the junior magistrates be filled up with the sum of 1,200l.. Ayes 57; Noes 49: Majority 8.—

House resumed.

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