HC Deb 08 September 1841 vol 59 cc509-10
Sir T. Fremantle

moved the first reading of the Administration of Justice Bill.

Lord Palmerston,

in seconding the motion, said he might be allowed to avail himself of that opportunity, as the bill had been introduced in the other House by his noble and learned Friend, Lord Cottenham, to say that, in his belief, there was but one opinion in the profession of the law as to the great merits of Lord Cottenham in his judicial capacity, and that testimony, arising, as it did, from an oblivion of party distinctions, was alike honourable to the bar and to the noble and learned Lord who was the object of it. He believed, that he was only saying what would be supported by the judgment of every one who was conversant with such matters, that Lord Cottenham, by the indefatigable attention which he applied to business, by the impartiality and soundness of his decisions, and by the large scope of mind which he brought to the discharge of the functions which he had to administer, would hold rank among the most eminent of those who had ever held the office of Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Wakley

wished to ask, whether anything could be more offensive to common sense, than that a judge, who had committed no fault, should be dismissed, in consequence of a political change? That such a thing should be, was such a violation of common sense and justice, that he trusted some leading Members of the House would put an end to it, by the insertion of clauses in this bill.

Mr. C. Buller

agreed, that while both sides of the House were eulogizing the conduct of the late Lord Chancellor, they ought not to forget to apply a remedy to a state of things which deprived the suitors of the country of the services of a judge in the prime of his faculties, merely in consequence of a political change. But the separation of the judicial and political functions of the head of the Chancery Courts could not be effected in this bill, as it would require various enactments in great detail. Lord Cottenham, among his other merits, had formerly introduced a measure for this very purpose into the other House. But such a bill ought to emanate from the Government, and he hoped they would soon take steps towards this change, which he thought would confer a greater benefit on the country than any which had yet been made in the administration of justice.

Bill read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on the 17th.

House adjourned to the 16th.