HC Deb 29 January 1847 vol 89 cc605-6

brought under the notice of the House three Resolutions of which he had given notice. They were as follow:—

  1. "1. That Public General Acts should be prepared for each of the several subjects of Police and Watching, of Waterworks and Sewage, of Paying, of Improvement of Towns and Regulation of Buildings, Streets, and Roads, of Markets and Fairs, of Cemeteries, of Bridges and Ferries, of Harbours, Docks, Ports, Piers, and Quays, of Canals, Rivers, and Navigation, as recommended in the Report of the Select Committee on Private Bills, embodying, as far as possible, the suggestions thereof.
  2. "2. That the recommendation in the said Report as to the taxation of the costs of parties promoting or opposing Private Bills be also adopted, and that a proper taxing officer should be appointed, and a scale of fees, costs, and charges, be authorized and published by Mr. Speaker.
  3. "3. That the Taxing Officer shall present to the House, at the commencement of each Session, an account of the total amount of the expenses for promoting or opposing each Bill taxed and sanctioned by him during the preceding Session, distinguishing the amount paid as fees on each Bill to each of the Houses of Parliament, the amount for witnesses and other expenses, and for professional services."
The hon. Member stated, that since the passing of the Reform Act, private Bills had cost the town of Liverpool no less than between 80,000l. and 90,000l., while the expense of similar Bills to Glasgow had been 57,000l, It had been proved before the Committee on Private Bills, that solicitors charged four or five times as much for business in Parliament as for other bu- siness. The hon. Member concluded by moving his first Resolution.


admitted the great importance of the subject, but submitted that before the House pledged itself by adopting any resolution, it would be expedient to see the Bill now nearly prepared, and which would have for object the consolidation of special clauses in many private Bills. That measure now would have been upon the Table, but for the unforeseen pressure of other business. The resolutions of the hon. Member, if adopted, could hardly be brought into operation during the present Session, so that little delay would be caused by waiting for the promised Bill. Last Session he had taken objection to the second and third resolutions, since they could only he carried into effect by an Act of Parliament.


remarked upon the enormous fees paid to the House for Bills for the improvement of towns, &c., amounting in some cases to nearly as much as the whole of the other charges. That was one great reason why the public was so unwilling to come before Parliament. He hoped that a Committee would be appointed to inquire into the subject, as the charges for passing private Bills had increased four or fivefold within a few years: the burden had now become almost intolerable.


was willing to withdraw his resolutions until the Bill adverted to by the Secretary for the Home Department had been brought under the consideration of the House.


wished the hon. Member to make a distinction between the fees paid to the House, and the charges of lawyers. A very large part of the expense of a private Bill went into the hands of agents and solicitors, over whom the House had no efficient control.


was glad that the attention of the House had been called to the subject of the fees payable to the House. He hoped that when the hon. Member for Sunderland produced the accounts of which he had spoken, he would distinguish between the fees paid to the House, and those paid to agents and solicitors.

Resolutions withdrawn.

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