HC Deb 20 February 1851 vol 114 cc870-2

MR. HATCHELL moved for leave to bring in a Bill to consolidate and amend the Laws relating to Civil Bills and the Courts of Quarter Sessions in Ireland, and to transfer to the Assistant Barristers certain jurisdiction as to Insolvent Debtors.


did not intend to make any objection to the introduction of this Bill. There might be modifications of the existing system of local' courts in Ireland which it would be desirable for the House to have an opportunity of considering; and he had no doubt a careful consolidation of the numerous existing Acts would be a useful measure. But he wished to be certain that he correctly understood the purpose of the Bill. If he (Mr. M'Cullagh) was in error, his right hon. and learned Friend would set him right; but he understood him to say that the only transfer of jurisdiction proposed in the measure was that now exercised by the Commissioners of Insolvent Debtors, whose duties, for the sake, he presumed, of some pecuniary saving, it was intended should hereafter devolve upon the assistant barristers. Upon the propriety of that alteration he did not-then mean to enter. But he would take that opportunity of reminding his right hon. and learned Friend that a growing feeling of jealousy prevailed among the profession in Ireland with respect to any transfer of jurisdiction from the superior courts, whether of law or equity. There was a very prevalent and by no means a groundless fear, that by degrees the chief tribunals of the country might be stripped of their proper functions in order to carry out a theory of change, which he, for one, could not but regard as most injurious to the best interests of the community at large, and wholly destructive of the dignity and inde- pendence of the legal profession. He was happy, however, to understand that, with the exception already adverted to, there was no intention in the present instance of taking from the superior courts any of those powers or duties which they were so competent in every respect usefully to discharge.

Leave given.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, and Sir W. Somerville.