§ House in Committee.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
moved that the following Clause should be added to the Bill:—And whereas it is provided by Act 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, s. 40, that the salaries to be received in any case by the Judges and clerks of County Courts, shall be 1,200l. by a Judge, and 600l. by a clerk, be it enacted that after the passing of this Act, the greatest salaries to be received in any case by the said Judges and clerks respectively, shall be 1,500l. by a Judge, and 700l. by a clerk.As they were now going to impose on these Judges additional duties, including a very important part of the business now transacted in the offices of the Masters in Chancery, he thought it would only be justice 1808 to give them a commensurate increase in their incomes.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he objected to the clause. In many cases the Judges of these Courts were not more than half employed; and as they did not in general now receive more than 1,000l. a year, he thought the power which already existed to raise their salaries to 1,200l. would be quite sufficient to secure their adequate remuneration for the additional duties to be imposed upon them. No one at present knew what the amount of those duties would be; but should it turn out that they were, not sufficiently paid at 1,200l. a year, he should not then object to assent to the provisions of the proposed clause. He would suggest that, except perhaps at Manchester and Liverpool, the County Court Judges should be invested with a jurisdiction in bankruptcy. In some parts of the country, especially in Wales, parties experienced considerable inconvenience from the distance which they had to travel to attend the Courts of Bankruptcy.
said, it was his intention to oppose the Clause. Its object was to increase the salaries of the Judges from 1,000l. and 1,200l. a year, to 1,500l. a year. He believed that 1,000l. a year was quite sufficient to secure the services of eminent lawyers, and that 1,200l. a year would be abundant compensation for any additional labour thrown upon them. He was fortified in this opinion by the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who declared last Session that 1,000l. a year was quite sufficient salary for the Judges of the County Courts.
§ SIR GEORGE PECHELL
was by no means of opinion that the salary proposed to be given to the Judges of County Courts was too much. In the county of Sussex, with which he was best acquainted, the Judges had, in some instances, to travel 100 miles to reach their Courts. He wished to know whether it was intended to give the Judges the whole salary of 1,500l., as none of them had more than 1,000l. a year at present.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that the object of the clause was to make the maximum salary 1,500l. a year. Several of the Judges had now more onerous duties to perform than others, and it was proposed to give them 1,500l. a year.
said, that up to this time, in his opinion, the County Court Judges had not received sufficient remuneration 1809 for their services. The words "not exceeding 1,200l." he always understood to mean "1,200l.;" and yet they had been paid in most cases not more than 1,000l. This had been adding insult to injury, and he should like to hear from the Government that it was intended to have a minimum salary of 1,200l.
§ SIR GEORGE STRICKLAND
had great confidence in County Courts, and wished to see their respectability maintained, and the Judges properly paid. They were increasing in importance every day, and he should support the clause.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
would also support the Clause, and in the absence of any opposition, save that offered by two hon. Gentlemen, hoped that the Committee would at once agree to it, and would determine that the minimum salary should be 1,200l. per annum.
MR. BECKETT DENISON
said, that there was a greater difference in the amount of work to be done in different districts than there was between 1,200l. and 1,500l. a year. In fact, he knew that some districts were better worth 1,500l. than others were worth 1,000l. He found nothing in the clause about a minimum salary, and he should prefer to leave the proportion in the hands of the proper authorities.
§ MR. MULLINGS
said, that he should support the clause. In some cases he knew that the Judges were monstrously overworked. He was acquainted with one of the most active, who had assured him that without a deputy it would have been impossible for him to get through his work, and that his salary had only left him a clear income of 700l. a year.
§ MR. J. WILLIAMS
would urge upon the Government to transfer the bankruptcy business of North Wales to the County Court Judges in the districts. It was well known that creditors in North Wales lost thousands a year because they could not go to Liverpool to prove small debts before Commissioners who did not understand the Welsh language. He approved of the proposition to raise the salaries of the Judges of these Courts, and he would suggest that the duties of the revising barristers should be also transferred to them, by which means a saving would be effected of 1,200l. a year.
§ SIR JOHN DUCKWORTH
expressed his approval of the clause, as he thought the County Court Judges were not sufficiently paid.
§ MR. HARDCASTLE
said, he wished to propose an Amendment that it was expedient to provide salaries for assistant clerks in those cases where the office of clerk is held by the same individual for more than one Court. He was assured, on competent authority, that the duties of the district assistant clerks were by far more onerous than those of any other officer of the Court. The Amendment which he begged to propose would be to give 300l. to the assistant clerk, such assistant clerk being an attorney of, and duly admitted in, one of the Superior Courts.
§ LORD DUDLEY STUART
approved of the Amendment, and would suggest that as the work was all done by the assistant clerks throughout the country, the office of clerk might be dispensed with altogether.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that the Amendment might lead to great abuses. A certain sum was allowed for clerks' work, and the principal clerk very properly appointed a deputy clerk to assist him.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, the Amendment, if agreed to, would treble the expense of the County Court system, because an assistant clerk would have to be appointed in every district.
said, it was his intention to support the Amendment. In his own neighbourhood the assistant clerk had to keep his office open from ten till four o'clock, and all the remuneration he received was 70l. a year.
§ Amendment withdrawn; Clause agreed to. Other Clauses moved and agreed, to.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ House resumed. Bill reported.