HC Deb 29 July 1861 vol 164 cc1766-8

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


proposed to insert the following clause:— Whereas Lieutenant- Colonel John Henry Keogh has sustained a loss of £1,879 6s. 7d. by the neglect of an officer of the Encumbered Estates Court; and whereas it is expedient that he should be indemnified for the said loss; be it, therefore, enacted that the Judges of the Landed Estates Court may, with the sanction of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, direct the payment to the said Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Keogh, from time to time, out of the duties levied or to be levied under the provisions of the said recited Act, of an amount not exceeding the said sum of £l,879 6s.7d.; and no general order reducing the said duties shall be issued until there shall have been received after the passing of this Act from the proceeds of the difference between the existing duties and the reduced duties to be levied under this Act a sum amounting to £l,879 6s. 7d. Clause brought up, and read 1°.


opposed the clause. The object of the fees paid in the Landed Estates Court was merely to make that Court self-supporting, but now it was proposed that the suitors should pay more fees, in order to make good the loss sustained by the neglect of one of the officers. The effect of such a principle was to make all the suitors mutual insurers against the mistakes of the officers of the Court. This would establish a most vicious principle in regard to all Courts, and would render the establishment of such a Court in this country impossible.


said, that the case was a peculiar one, and it had been proved to the satisfaction of the Committee that Colonel Keogh had been compelled to pay the sum it was proposed to give him twice over. He thought that both in this country and in Ireland the course now proposed had been adopted under analogous circumstances, and the Committee had recommended that Colonel Keogh should be indemnified in this manner.


said, that the Secretary of the Treasury had certainly made the case more clear, and more objectionable than it seemed before. There had been no instance in which Parliament had given its sanction that the fees of suitors should make good an error in judgment of one of the officials. The principle upon which suitors were compelled to pay fees was to make the Court self-supporting, but, unfortunately, the principle was not strictly adhered to. He did not doubt that Colonel Keogh ought to he reimbursed; but he did altogether deny that he ought to be reimbursed out of the pockets of those who might hereafter become suitors in the Encumbered Estates Court. It was, in fact, levying a tax on future suitors to pay for a loss incurred in reference to bygone suitors. There was an admission that the fees would bear reduction, but this reduction must be postponed to pay for the errors of an official. The Committee were not empowered to say whether this money should come out of the Consolidated Fund or not; all they were called upon to decide was, whether Colonel Keogh ought to be remunerated or not. The question of the fund out of which he was to be paid was one for the consideration of the House. He should ask the Committee to expunge the clause altogether.


asked what would be done after this claim was liquidated. Other cases might arise like this of Colonel Keogh. Would those payments in future come out of the Consolidated Fund?


said, he could not state the course that would be pursued in future cases. The necessity in this case arose out of the legislation of the House. It must be remembered that the principle had never yet been carried out of making this Court self-supporting.


supported the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Belfast. The result of the clause would be for some years to come to keep suitors out of the Court.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 33; Noes 25: Majority 8.


wished to ask the Chairman a question. The title of the Bill was to alter the duties in the Court; but the 3rd Clause said that the Commissioners might raise the duties as well as alter them. Under such circumstances, he desired to know, whether it ought not to have been introduced by a Resolution in a Committee of the Whole House?


said, as the Bill did not intend to make any charge upon the Consolidated Fund, it was not necessary to proceed by Resolution in a Committee of the Whole House. The duties proposed to be raised were to come out of the suitors' fund. He thought, however, that the title of the Bill would require amendment by the addition of some such words as these, "and for other purposes."

Clause added to the Bill.

Preamble, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.