HC Deb 30 March 1871 vol 205 cc886-7

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether the disposition of the fees of the vacant office of one of the Registrarships of Deeds for Middlesex, which has not been filled up by the Chief Justice of England in deference to the opinion of this House, remains the same as stated by the Secretary of State for the Home Department on 19th July last year—viz., that these fees are divided in three equal portions between the two surviving Registrars and the Consolidated Fund, so that in 1869 each Registrar received £640 additional in consequence of this vacancy: and, whether Her Majesty's Government, pending the abolition of these sinecure offices, the principle of which has been sanctioned both by them and this House are prepared to take any steps to secure that the fees of this vacant office shall be applied to lessen the compensations which may be payable to the Registrars on the abolition of their offices, in order that the public and not the surviving Registrars may obtain the main benefit of the vacancy?


said, there were originally four Registrars for the Middlesex Registry, and they divided the fees equally among them. When a vacancy occurred among the Registrars the Lord Chief Justice of England, in whose gift the office was, declined to make an appointment on the ground that the office was a sinecure, and supposing that so much money would be saved to the public. But the effect of the non-appointment had been that the three Registrars had divided the fees among them. One of these Registrars happened to be the Queen's Remembrancer, and therefore his share went into the Consolidated Fund; and he (the Attorney General) concurred in the opinion indicated in the Question of the hon. Member that the public and not the remaining Registrars should have had the benefit of the non-appointment. Whether that could be effected without the intervention of Parliament, or whether the Government had legal power to interfere, were questions of some difficulty; but he would take care that they should, be inquired into.