HC Deb 13 February 1844 vol 72 c683
Mr. Roebuck

wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question with respect to the bills which had been introduced by the hon. and learned Members for Chester and Kinsale, and entitled the Small Debts Bill and the Superior Courts (Common Law) Bill. By the first of these bills the whole jurisdiction for the recovery of small debts was given to the unpaid Magistracy of this country, which he could not help saying was a most improper tribunal. He wished to know whether this bill were introduced with the sanction of the Government?

Sir J. Graham

far from it, the hon. and learned Member for Chester brought forward last Session, a similar measure to that which had been alluded to by the hon. and learned Member for Bath, as a rival measure to the bill introduced by the Government. The hon. and learned Member for Chester had introduced his rival measure in the present Session before Her Majesty's Government had been enabled to introduce their bill. He certainly should not feel disposed to give any support to the bill of the hon. Member for Chester, as he entirely agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Bath, in objecting to entrust the jurisdiction in matter of debt to the Magistracy, for he could not conceive a worse tribunal for that purpose. He must say, that this measure was of an extraordinary character, for it embraced all England and Wales, and it placed the whole jurisdiction in matters of debt under 5l. in the hands of persons not learned in the law.