HC Deb 29 July 1872 vol 213 cc47-9

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he has considered the fact stated in the Letter of Mr. Serjeant Wheeler, dated 9th July 1872, addressed to the Lords of the Treasury; and, if so, whether he still purposes to apply the rules laid down in the Treasury Minute of 22nd June 1872, to Judges appointed prior to the year 1870?


said, he wished to state, in the first place, that the Minute in question was adopted in order to give effect to the wishes of the Committee of Supply with reference to the travelling expenses involved in the Question. ["No, no!"] However much that statement might be disputed, at all events he understood that to be the wish of the Committee. Moreover, whether that were so or not, he was unable to say he could deal with the arguments and facts stated in the letter of Mr. Serjeant Wheeler, because they seemed to amount to this—that when maintenance expenses were once fixed for a public officer they ought not to be revised or altered under any circumstances during his tenure of office. That would amount to a vested interest which he could not admit. With regard to the salary of an officer, he freely admitted it; but the expenses of an officer appeared to him to be perfectly met if he received a fair indemnity for the expense to which he was put. At the same time, he was bound in candour to say that fresh facts had come to his knowledge since the decision of the Committee was arrived at. It appeared to have been the opinion of several Lord Chancellors—though not of the present one nor of Lord Westbury—that County Court Judges should not reside in their districts; and he freely admitted that if any gentleman had made his arrangements for life in deference to that opinion the circumstance constituted a claim on the Treasury, and that expenses ought to be paid which otherwise would not have been allowed. The Treasury, therefore, were not willing to take the matter in a lump, but intended to consider each case separately, with a view of rendering complete justice to those who had submitted their claims. Lastly, anticipating the Question of the hon. and learned Member for Taunton (Mr. James), he had to state that the Estimates had been voted this year under the old footing, and would be applied for the coming year on that footing. Therefore, the hon. and learned Gentleman would have ample opportunity to challenge the propriety of any Vote the Treasury might propose to make.


said, it had also been his intention to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he will suspend its operation until there has been an opportunity of taking the sense of Parliament upon it? In consequence, however, of the explanation just given, he should wait to see what course was taken by the Department, repeating the Question, if necessary, hereafter.