§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
I now rise, Sir, to ask leave to introduce a Bill to amend the procedure in regard to Ecclesiastical Buildings and Glebes in Scotland. I have been requested to bring in a measure on this subject by hon. Members on both sides of the House. It has reference to ecclesiastical buildings and glebes in Scotland and I may explain shortly that at present the clergymen of a district called a Presbytery, are the authorities who determine judicially, at least in the first instance, with respect to ecclesiastical buildings and glebes. They hold the somewhat inconsistent position of being to a great extent at the same time litigants and judges. Their decision is subject to the review of the Court of Session, and they are brought to the Court of Session as parties or litigants after having acted as judges, and they are often subjected to considerable loss. Now, this has been found a very inconvenient system, by the proprietors affected by the decision of the Presbytery, and also by the Presbyters themselves. I believe it is a very general feeling on the part of the Church that this is a very inconvenient system, and I have been asked to bring in a Bill on the subject. By the Bill which I now ask leave to introduce I propose that in case a dispute arises between a Presbytery and the proprietors, instead of having the Presbytery as judges, the case should go to the Sheriff of the county, who shall give judgment in the case. This will result in preventing any irritation between the clergymen and the proprietors, and at the same time afford a cheap and expeditious mode of settling any dispute.
Motion agreed to.
Bill to amend the procedure in regard to Ecclesiastical Buildings and Glebes in Scotland, ordered to be brought in by The LORD ADVOCATE, Mr. Secretary GATHORNE HARDY, and Sir GRAHAM MONTGOMERY.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 58.]