§ MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, he wished to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether it is the intention of Government to recommend the appointment of a third Judge of the Landed Estates Court (Ireland), in the room of Judge Martley, lately deceased? He reminded the House that when this Bill was before the House last year it was proposed by the Government that there should be only two Judges of the Court, and that Mr. Hargreave, the English Judge, should return to this country at a full salary. But that proposition was generally opposed in the House, and at last the Government acceded to the Amendment that there should be three Judges instead of two, but upon the clear understanding that in the event of a vacancy occurring 25 it would not be filled up unless the necessity of the case required it. Now a vacancy bad taken place, and they had a return of the business which had of late been brought before the Court, from which it appeared that the business had greatly fallen off. In the old Incumbered Estates Court the petitions used to average 100 per month they had now fallen to fifteen per month and with regard to the new jurisdiction for investigating titles, there had not yet a single petition come before the Court. Under these circumstances he put it to the Government whether it was desirable that the vacancy caused by Judge Hartley's death should be filled up? It was true that the Solicitor General for England had introduced a Bill of a similar nature for this country, and he understood that if it should pass, Judge Hargreave was to be removed from Ireland to give the benefit of his great experience to this country. However, it was to be remembered that the Bill had not yet passed, and Mr. Hargreave might not be removed at all. He had called the attention of the noble Lord to this subject on Tuesday last, and he now repeated his Question, because, if this vacancy were filled up, for which be thought circumstances showed there was no necessity, any further allusion to it would be too late.
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, he could not understand he object of his hon. and learned Friend. When the Bill was before the House last year there was a strong feeling in which his Hon, and learned Friend joined, in favour of retaining three Judges, and in deference to that feeling the Government were obliged to give way. He denied that any reason whatever had been shown for altering their opinion. It was true the business had of late somewhat diminished; but he believed much of that might be attributed to the stringent rules which the deceased Judge had laid down, and which it was to be hoped would be given up. He hoped, therefore, that the government would discharge their duty, and fill up the vacancy.
§ MR. J. D. FITZGERALD,
in explanation observed that what he had said in June last was that he hoped no third Judge would be again appointed unless it was found that the public service required it.