HC Deb 27 June 1856 vol 142 cc2096-7

There is one question, Sir, which was mentioned in an early part of this discussion, upon which I cannot help saying a few words; I refer to the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill. My noble Friend (Lord Palmerston) said, that a very early day would be appointed for this Bill, but he said there were other Bills which it was necessary to consider before that Bill. Now, it would be a very serious evil if a Bill of that great importance should be passed at a very late period of the Session, and it would be a matter of reproach to us if it did not receive full consideration. My noble Friend says that the present exercise of the appellate jurisdiction of the Lords is not satisfactory. The Government are bound to show why that jurisdiction which has been so long exercised by the House of Lords, and so jealously guarded by that House, fails all at once, and why they propose to take it away. In the next place, this Bill affects the prerogative, for it surrenders, limits, and restricts one of the most important prerogatives of the Crown, namely, the creation of Peers for life. In the third place, if this Bill passes it will deeply affect the independence of the bench. I hope, therefore, that there will be no delay in bringing this Bill before the House, and that the House will have an early opportunity of discussing the subject in all its important bearings before it is asked to affirm the principles of the Bill on a second reading.


said, that without expressing any opinion on the principle of the Bill he felt bound to say that it was absolutely necessary something should be done on the question. Such was the imperative necessity of something being done, that he had only to say that appeals from several of the Judges had been heard by the Lord Chancellor sitting alone; and that happened from the fact of one noble and learned Lord (Lord St. Leonards) declining to attend. Lord Lyndhurst, from his advanced age, had every right to decline attendance, and Lord Brougham, he was sorry to say, was unable to attend in consequence of ill-health, the Lord Chancellor, therefore, had to hear appeals sitting alone. To his mind, the Bill had many points that were most unsatisfactory, but be only rose to bear his testimony that something should be done at once, and to express a hope that the Government would not allow the question to be postponed.

Motion for the adjournment of the House till Monday was then agreed to.