HC Deb 15 June 1866 vol 184 cc465-7

Sir, a very remarkable statement has appeared in the newspapers within the last few days, of which I wish to ask some explanation at the hands of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Judge Long-field is reported as having said, in a case before him, that— He hoped that the parties would not delay sending in their requisitions for the further information of the Court, as he was anxious to dispose completely of all cases before him, to avoid the inconvenience of a re-argument before his successor of cases already heard before himself. He regretted to say that he thought it unlikely that he could hold much longer the situation which he at present filled. He had read that morning a Bill brought into Parliament so unjust to himself that he considered it as equivalent to a Bill for depriving him of his office by imposing on him more business than, at his time of life, he could undertake to discharge. He had requested his registrar to furnish him with a return of orders made by him in Court for the month ending the 3rd day of June. The orders amounted to 257. Of those, 136 were made in cases transferred to him from the Court of the late Judge Hargreave, and the remainder in cases originally his own. This was exclusive of orders to give out title-deeds and fiating petitions, settling rentals, conveyances, schedules, partitions, and declarations of title. The number of petitions fiated by him during the above period amounted to forty-five, twenty-three of which were cases which came to him owing to the death of Judge Hargreave. The number of titles read by him during the same period was thirty-seven, twenty-five of which were in cases referred to him. He protested against the injustice of imposing so much additional labour on him, and had written to the Chief Secretary for Ireland on the subject, protesting against the injustice, and had received an answer this morning, in the ordinary language of official civility, to the effect that the Government were prepared to carry the Bill as it stood. The only part of the Bill with which he was now concerned was that which related to the additional duties imposed on himself. He would, however, say that he entirely disapproved the policy of the Act. ["Order, order!"] The learned Judge goes on to say that it will diminish the security of titles conferred ["Order!"], and to speak of other matters. I therefore beg to ask my right hon. Friend, Whether Judge Long-field has notified his intention of resigning his judicial position in the Landed Estates Court without any retiring pension; and, if so, what are the grounds of that resignation; whether as a consequence of that resignation any changes are contemplated in the constitution of the Court; and whether, assuming that any correspondence has passed on this subject between Judge Long-field and the Lord Lieutenant, my right hon. Friend sees any objection to its production?


In answer, Sir, to my right hon. and learned Friend, I have to say that there has been a certain correspondence between the Irish Government and Judge Long-field, in the course of which that learned Judge has given the Government reason to believe that it is probable he will not continue for any lengthened period of time to fill the office the duties of which he now so ably administers, and which it would be very much to our regret if he were t6 resign. But he has not intimated his intention of resigning at present; in short, he has not resigned. The correspondence has not however terminated, and, under the circumstances, I do not think it ought to be given to the House.


But what I want to know from my right hon. Friend is the cause of the quarrel. What is it all about?

[No answer was returned to this question.]