§ Mr. Hawes
desired to know of the noble Lord the Colonial Secretary, what he intended to do with the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill and the County Courts Bill? Whether he meant to abolish the criminal jurisdiction of the former, and whether he designed to press forward the latter? as there were a great many private Bills for the recovery of small debts pending which the General County Courts bill stopped, inasmuch as it would go to absorb their jurisdiction.
§ Lord J. Russell.
—With regard generally to the Eccesiastical Courts Bill, I may say that it was considered very much in the committee of the House of Lords two or three years ago, and the result was that it became the determination of that House not to proceed with it until another Bill then before the House had passed. That Bill is the Clergy Discipline Bill, and there have been various discussions on it since, which led to no result. I have no official information on the subject, but I have reason to believe that a Bill of the same nature is likely to originate in the other House of Parliament, and in that case we shall be in a better position to proceed with the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill here. Some of the parts of that measure, those for the abolition of criminal jurisdiction, I mean to proceed with separately. With regard to the County Courts Bill, it has been delayed at! the suggestion of my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor, until we shall have received the reports of the bankruptcy and insolvency commissioners of inquiry,
§ Mr. Hawes
thought that these reports would not be made in sufficient time to be available this year; and he was, therefore, of opinion that something should be done in regard to the County Courts Bill without delay.
§ Subject at an end.