HC Deb 08 July 1856 vol 143 cc506-8

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3.


said, he objected to the clause, all but that part of it which proposed the appointment of a new Judge. The ex-Chancellor Blackburne, one of the ablest men in Ireland, was receiving a pension of £4,000 a year, and he was doing nothing but amusing himself at the Privy Council. He (Mr. Whiteside) wished to obtain a pledge from the Government that this great lawyer should be the first Judge of the Court of Appeal, with his pension to count as a portion of his salary. He also objected to that portion of the clause which rendered the Judge of the Court removable at the pleasure of the Crown, thereby going back to the days of the Stuarts; and he objected likewise to the selection of Common Law Puisne Judges, which the clause proposed, to sit as Judges of Appeal in Chancery causes. Nor did he like the mode in which the salaries were proposed to be regulated, though it professed economy. The Judges were, in fact, to have £5,000 a year, the same salary proposed for the Deputy Speakers of the House of Lords. The Amendment he intended to propose was that, instead of confining the appointment of the other Judges of Appeal to the Puisne Judges of Appeal to the puisne Judges of the Common Law Courts, the choice should be extended to the elder members of the Bar—say men of twenty years' standing.


said, that the clause had been framed in deference to the opinion of the majority of the Commission, to whom the subject had been referred. The clause had been printed last year, and had been introduced in the Report of the Commission of which ex-Chancellor Blackburne was one. Sir John Romilly and one of the Irish Chief Justices were also on that Commission; and he (Mr. FitzGerald) had adopted the recommendation on their authority, though it was rather contrary to his own opinion. Various propositions were brought before the Commission to create an Appeal Court from the Court of Chancery in Ireland: and it was pointed out that there were several Judges in Ireland from time to time available for the purpose of presiding over the Court. Ex-Chancellor Blackburne, however, was the party pointed at. But then it was suggested that that Judge might again be named Chancellor; and, therefore he, (Mr. FitzGerald) was cast back upon the Common Law bench and the Bar for a selection. The Commission had recommended the selection of the additional Judge from the Common Law department. The Judges were appointed during Her Majesty's pleasure, because the creation, of the Court was an experiment, and it was not, therefore, known, how it would act. Besides, the Judges of the Court were only in the position of the Lord Chancellor in that respect who was removeable at Her Majesty's pleasure. He was, however, willing to adopt the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside).


said, he did not understand that the Judges of the Common Law Court taken for the Appeal Court were still to remain Judges of the Common Law Court after their appointment to the Court of Appeal.


said, he thought the range of selection for Judges of the Court of Appeal should be perfectly free, and that any qualified person might be selected. It was like casting a stigma on the Bar to designate a particular person. There was no man who had a higher character than ex-Chancellor Blackburne; but the omission of the Judge of the Prerogative Court in Ireland from the Bill, though mentioned in a former Bill, showed that the wisdom of leaving the selection open was admitted by the Government.


said, he quite agreed with the modification suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and would adopt it in the Bill.

Clause amended agreed to, as were the remaining clauses.

House resumed.

Bill reported, as amended.