MR. ROMILLY moved for the appointment of a Select Committee—
To inquire into and report to the House on the Taxation of Suitors in the Courts of Law and Equity by the collection of Fees, and the amount
thereof, and the mode of collection, and the appropriation of Fees in the Courts of Law and Equity, and in all inferior Courts, and in the Courts of Special and General Sessions in England and Wales, and in the Ecclesiastical Courts and Courts of Admiralty; and as to the Salaries and Fees received by the officers of those Courts, and whether any and what means could be adopted with a view of superintending and regulating the collection and appropriation thereof.
His object was not to inquire into the propriety of the amount of compensation given to any officers, but to ascertain whether the fees might not be better appropriated for the administration of justice. He considered that the fees ought to be put into one fund, and ought to be applied solely to purposes connected with the administration of justice, with a view to render that administration as cheap and economical as possible. Under the present system more than 100,000l. a year was paid over from the fees received in the courts of common law to the Consolidated Fund. In the county courts lately established the amount of fees far exceeded what was required for the salaries of the officers; and, therefore, the Government proposed that the salaries should be fixed, and that the fees should be carried over to a general fund. He hoped that the Government would take care that no portion of the fund arising from fees was carried to the general expenditure of the country, but that it was applied to the reduction of fees from suitors.
§ SIR G. GREY
understood the object of the hon. and learned Gentleman's Motion was simply to reappoint a Committee with the same powers and objects as the Committee appointed last Session on the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman who lately represented Kinsale (Mr. Watson); and to such a Motion he was perfectly ready to assent. He might, however, say, with reference to the observations of the hon. Gentleman as to the county courts, that what he stated the other night was, that the Government were collecting information as to the amount of fees received in those courts, in order to see whether it might be possible and expedient, at an early period, to reduce the amount of those fees. His own impression was, that such a course would be possible.
§ Motion agreed to.