HC Deb 07 March 1845 vol 78 cc514-5
Sir J. Graham

proposed to take the Second Reading of this Bill that night, on the understanding that the discussion on the Bill should take place in Committee after the Easter recess.

Mr. Escott

said, this was a very important measure, and it was impossible that this question could be properly discussed without, entering into a rather intricate question—how far the fees for which another system of payment was to be provided by this Bill were authorized by law or justice. This Bill provided a totally different payment for the officers of the different courts. Before entertaining that question, it was necessary to ascertain whether the existing fees were just and legal. This was, therefore, not a question to be disposed of at that time of night, and he pressed on his right hon. Friend the importance of postponing the second reading. He would not consent to the second reading of the Bill without having first a full discussion of the principle. In thirty-two counties, and in seventy-four municipalities, the fees in question had been abolished altogether by the magistracy, thus proving that it was in the power of the courts to do away with the evil, if they were, only prepared to perform their duty, and render the interference of the Legislature unnecessary.

Mr. Henley

said, it was a very inconvenient practice to pass over the principle of a Bill on its second reading, and to reserve that part of the discussion for the Committee, where details only were wont to be considered.

Sir J. Graham

said, if there were any real objection to read the Bill at that late hour, he would not press it. At the same time, he must observe, that the Bill differed in no respect, nor did it contain any new principle, as contradistinguished from a Bill of the same nature which he had laid upon the Table of the House at the close of the last Session; and surely hon. Members could not complain that they had not had time to make themselves masters of the provisions and principle of that Bill. The Bill contained the seeds of a saving to the county rates and to the public which was very considerable in its amount. He would not, however, press the measure to a second reading on that occasion.

Second reading deferred.

House adjourned at one o'clock.