HC Deb 25 July 1848 vol 100 c811

inquired what steps had been taken to put an end to the abuses that have taken place in the several Vice-Admiralty Courts of the Cape of Good Hope, St. Helena, Sierra Leone, and New South Wales?


was not in a condition to give the hon. and gallant Gentleman any information on the subject of the fees and charges of the Vice Admiralty-Court of Sidney. With regard to the charges of the other courts, the subject had been fully investigated, and it had certainly been much easier to discover the existence of the evil of which the hon. and gallant Gentleman complained, than to devise a remedy for it. Among those who had been applied to to investigate this subject was Dr. Lushington. The fees, which were fixed by the Act of the 2nd William IV., cap. 51, were moderate; and if the charges had been limited to those fees, there would have been no ground for complaint. The judge received a fee of 1l. 10s. upon each case, the registrar a fee of 4l, and the other officers of the court fees amounting in the whole to 1l. 15s. But the dangerous part of the system was this, the judge had the power of awarding expenses to the agent of the captors; and the agent of the captors in return possessed the power of waiving all objections to the exaction of fees by the judge, and thus many fees were illegally exacted. The remedy proposed by Dr. was to allow the captors to have the right of having their agent's bill taxed by the registrar of the High Court of Admiralty.