§ Order for Committee read. House in Committee.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2.
§ MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, he wished to move an Amendment, the effect of which was to prevent assistant barristers being removed by an Order in Council. Superior Judges could be only removed by an Address from both Houses of Parliament, and he proposed to place the inferior Judges in the same position.
said, that the Amendment was out of order. They were dealing not with the superior Judges, but the assistant barristers.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, that the Act provided a retiring allowance to assistant barristers in the case of permanent infirmity; and the meaning of these words was incapacity to discharge the duties of the office personally. The phrase occurred in an existing Act; but he would alter the clause, so as to give the Lord Chancellor the power of certifying to the Privy Council that an assistant barrister was incompetent to perform his duties on account of a permanent infirmity; and to make the Lord Lieutenant in Council, after hearing counsel for the barrister, to decide on the question of his removal.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he thought that the definition was well understood, and that no difficulty would arise.
§ MR. BUTT
remarked, that it was much more humane to the individual for the Lord Chancellor to certify that an assistant barrister was incapacitated by permanent infirmity, than that his physical and mental incapacity should be brought before both Houses of Parliament. Moreover, the penalty held over the head of the assistant barrister was, after all, not a very terrible one. At the worst a man could only be sent into retirement with two-thirds of his salary.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, that the Bill only gave the Lord Chancellor the power of certifying to the Privy Council that an assistant barrister was incapable of performing his duties, and the Privy Council was then empowered to take steps for the removal of the individual in question. Now, there might be an unscrupulous Lord Chancellor in Ireland, and as the Privy Council was summoned at will by the Government of the day, there was no sufficient provision for the independence of the Judge. He did not think, therefore, that this was a tribunal that Would conciliate the confidence of the public.
§ MR. WALPOLE
observed, that the case put was worthy of consideration. He had no objection, in such a case, that the clause should be so amended as to require that on such an occasion all the members of the Privy Council should be summoned.
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, as the opinion of the people of Ireland was opposed to this change, he hoped that this provision would not be insisted upon. At present, no Bill was necessary to remove incapable Judges, as the Government already possessed the power to do so.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, the Government 1772 ought to be satisfied with carrying the Bill with one clause; and in a short time there would be no danger of having incapable men sitting upon the bench in Ireland. Give a man the certainty of retiring with two-thirds of his salary, and there would be no danger of any man in a state of infirmity remaining on the bench.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
said, he regarded the office of assistant barrister as altogether an anomaly, and on that ground he was wholly opposed to the Bill, as well as for the reason that the House was increasing the pensions of the old and effete as a bribe to get rid of them.
SIR, WILLIAM SOMERVILLE
said, he must oppose the clause, as he believed that there was scarcely a single argument having reference to the assistant barristers which had not equal reference to the Judges.
§ Motion for reporting progress negatived.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Question put, "That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided:— Ayes 98; Noes 50: Majority 48.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 3 struck out.
§ The House resumed.
§ MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
advised that the clause should be withdrawn and brought up again on the Report.
§ Clause negatived.
§ MR. FITZGERALD
said, that on the bringing up of the Report he should move the recommittal of the Bill, in order that it might be extended to the Judges of the Superior Courts.
§ House resumed.
§ Bill reported, as amended, to be considered To-morrow.