HC Deb 01 May 1854 vol 132 cc1170-1

Order for Second Reading read.


said, by this Bill it was intended to give power to the Superior Courts of England, Ireland, and Scotland, to issue subpœnas to persons residing out of their jurisdiction, calling on them to come forward and give evidence. That was a very startling innovation on the existing system. It was certainly very desirable the—whole of the United Kingdom being one—that the Courts of England, Ireland, and Scotland, should have the power of examining persons residing out of their jurisdiction, but within the Realm; but this Bill gave no power to those Courts for following up the subpœnas, in case it was disregarded, and that was the objectionable part of it. If the promoters of the Bill intended to carry out its object, they must in some way obtain the intervention and assistance of some Court within whose jurisdiction the witness subpœnaed resided, to compel his attendance. He would not, however, object to the Second Reading.


said, he agreed that it would be necessary to insert a clause giving jurisdiction to a Court in England, and he had not the slightest objection to the insertion of such a clause in committee. Since the year 1805 the Courts in Ireland had had the power of summoning witnesses in criminal cases, as also had the Courts in England and Scotland. The Irish Court certified the fact of disobedience to the Courts in England and Scotland, and proceedings were then taken exactly as if the disobedience had been towards the English or Scotch Courts. When his hon. and learned Friend declared that the Bill would be nugatory in its operation, he forgot the important fact that it would make the service out of the jurisdiction valid, and give power to parties injured by disobedience to bring an action.


said, he must support the view taken by his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, there were also other anomalies in the Bill.


said, he would suggest that care should be taken to keep the exercise of this new power within proper limits, otherwise many persons might be summoned from England, Scotland, or Ireland, to give evidence who were not in a state of health or mind to comply with the summons, or whose evidence might not be absolutely necessary. He thought some discretion should be given to the Judge granting the summons to consider whether it was necessary to issue it.

Bill read 2°.

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